By Emily Drooby
Fallout after Easter Sunday’s deadly Sri Lanka attacks continued on Monday, as a bomb-filled van exploded during a police-controlled detonation in the capital.
Sri Lankan officials have now apologized for ignoring warnings that came in weeks before the attacks.
In an interview, Sri Lankan Minister of Telecommunication, Harin Fernando said, “I honestly do feel there was a breech and as well as there has been a big massive miscommunication. Or somebody taking this whole intelligence report lightly and thought no, it’s not possible, but they had all information.”
The coordinated bombings started just before nine on Sunday morning. Three churches holding Easter services were attacked along with three hotels. Hours later there were two additional explosions, one in private housing and one near the national zoo. Officials say seven suicide bombers were involved.
Nearly 300 are dead. Among them at least four Americans, including Dieter Kowalski, a Denver resident who was in the country on a work trip.
President Trump offered his condolences while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained the loss of American life has brought the fight home. He said, “We mourn the loved ones of the victims some of them we can confirm were indeed U.S. citizens, this is America’s fight too.”
Three Christian churches all targeted. Pope Francis prayed for the wounded during Easter services saying, “I wish to show my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.”
Back in the U.S., local Catholic reaction has been swift. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio condemning the attacks.
Bishop DiMarzio said, “It’s sad that there is religious intolerance in the world today, where everyone should have the right to practice their own religion the way they want certainly that is what we believe as Catholics, and it’s unfortunate that people have that kind of hatred for others that they would kill them when they’re in worship of God.”
Also on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan called the reaction of Sri Lanka’s Christians inspiring.
“There is already a resilience, there’s a hope, there’s a conviction that this will not extinguish our faith and we will not allow this evil to win, they’re the ones who give us hope, they’re the ones who have really interiorized the message of Easter.”
While no one has claimed responsibility for the brutal attacks, Sri Lankan officials are blaming the little-known local radical Muslim group, National Thowfeek Jamaath.
Authorities have declared a state of emergency. A curfew is in place and a social media blackout is in affect for a second day, in hopes of containing the violence and spread of miscommunication.