A devastating wave of bombings and suicide attacks have ripped through Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday targeting three Christian churches and luxury hotels.
Most of the victims are Sri Lankans. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "several" Americans have been confirmed among the dead.
Locations of the coordinated attacks are --
-Columbo (the capital of Sri Lanka situated on the Indian Ocean) 82+ dead
The worst of the carnage in Columbo occurred at St. Anthony's Shrine Roman Catholic Church where a suicide blast went off at around 8:45 a.m. local time. Witnesses described scenes of terror: “It was a river of blood,” said a shopkeeper who works near the church. “Ash was falling like snow.”
According to BBC News, a local man who came to help said: "There were bodies and parts of bodies everywhere. I saw there were two people who were still alive so I helped them to an ambulance. I was weeping."
"Many children were among the dead and injured: "They were screaming, they were bleeding. We tried to help as many as we could. I carried a little girl into one of the vans -- she had lost a leg," the man said as he continued to weep."
Hotels in Columbo including Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La Hotel, and The Kingsbury were also targeted.
-Negombo (20 miles north of Columbo) 104+ dead
St. Sebastian Catholic Church was struck by suicide bombers also at 8:45 local time. "Parishioners, many bleeding, scrambled to carry severely injured people from the church, which was littered with overturned chairs, shattered glass and debris that had fallen from the ceiling," according to ABC News.
Batticaloa (on the east coast on the Bay of Bengal) about 200 miles from Columbo) 28+ dead
Zion Church was struck at 8:45 am local time by some reports -- but minutes later by other sources. The suspected suicide bomber was welcomed into the Church service by the pastor, whose son died in the attack, just before the bomb exploded.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo asked his flock “not to take the law into their own hands” and called on the Sri Lankan government “to hunt down the attackers behind the lethal bombings” and “punish them mercilessly.”
President Trump tweeted: "The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!"
People throughout the world offered prayers for the suffering Sri Lankans. In Manchester, New Hampshire, Rev. Jason Jalbert of Saint Joseph Cathedral said: "We pray for all victims of abuse and violence throughout the world because Christians are persecuted all over.”