July 18, 2019

Sri Lanka Photos: Grief and Questions Amid the Carnage

Sri Lanka Photos: Grief and Questions Amid the Carnage

Here are images from the devastation of the Sunday attacks and glimpses of how the country is beginning to mourn the dead.

After the coordinated bombings that killed at least 290 people on Sunday, images of the Roman Catholic churches that had been targeted showed smashed pews, broken statues and charred beams. Windows, floors and ceilings were blown out at the hotels that were hit.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and carnage. N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper who works near one of the churches that was struck, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.”

[Follow our live updates on the deadly Sri Lanka explosions.]

A guest at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo, Sarita Marlou, wrote in a Facebook post that the bomb there had been set off in a third-floor restaurant.

“Felt the blast all the way up to the 17th floor where we were sleeping,” she wrote. “Few minutes later, we were asked to evacuate the hotel. While running down the stairs, saw a lot of blood on the floor but we were still clueless as to what really happened.”

Pope Francis, after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, said the attacks in Sri Lanka had “brought mourning and sorrow” to an important Christian holiday.

“I want to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, struck while it was gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence,” he said.

Police officials in Sri Lanka said the attacks had been coordinated by a single group, though they did not identify it. The Colombo attacks were said to have been carried out by suicide bombers.

Among the nearly 300 killed and hundreds more wounded, the authorities said, were 35 foreigners, according to officials and news accounts. American, British, Chinese, Dutch, Indian, Portuguese and Turkish citizens were said to be among the victims.

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