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Sri Lanka blasts: Catholics celebrate mass at restored church

The April 21 attacks, claimed by militant group Islamic State, targeted three churches and three luxury hotels, shocking the country and shattering a decade of relative peace after the end of a 25-year civil war.

By: Reuters | Colombo | Published: June 13, 2019 3:28:05 pm
sri lanka blasts, sri lanka bomb blasts, sri lanka easter sunday blasts, sri lanka easter sunday bombings, sri lanka easter sunday bomb blasts, sri lanka bomb blasts, world news, Indian Express Devotees pray during the reopening ceremony of the St. Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches attacked in the April 21st Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo. (Reuters)

Sri Lankan Catholics celebrated a saint’s feast inside a bombed church on Thursday, resuming worship at St. Anthony’s Shrine after Easter attacks by Islamist militants killed more than 250 people on the island.

The April 21 attacks, claimed by militant group Islamic State, targeted three churches and three luxury hotels, shocking the country and shattering a decade of relative peace after the end of a 25-year civil war.

Hundreds of worshippers, including survivors and relatives of the victims, gathered at the shrine in the capital, Colombo, for the feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

sri lanka blasts, sri lanka bomb blasts, sri lanka easter sunday blasts, sri lanka easter sunday bombings, sri lanka easter sunday bomb blasts, sri lanka bomb blasts, world news, Indian Express A police officer signals for vehicles to move during the reopening ceremony of the St. Anthony’s Shrine. (Reuters)

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, called for peace on the multi-ethnic island that has also been shaken by anti-Muslim riots carried out in retribution for the bombings.

“Do not make this land become a land of blood,” Ranjith said in his sermon at the restored white-painted church.

A mass was held on Wednesday evening for the first time since the church was reconsecrated.

Authorities say the threat of more Islamist militant attacks has been contained and security services have dismantled most of the network linked to the Easter Sunday bombings.

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