207 killed on Easter as religious extremists bomb churches and hotels in Sri Lanka
More than 207 people were killed and 450 injured as Sri Lanka faced one of the deadliest bombing attacks since the country’s civil war ended more than a decade ago.
The deaths include at least 35 foreigners from Belgium, China, Britain and the U.S.
The nation’s Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena has described the bombings as a terrorist attack set up by religious extremists in one specific group.
As of now, no terrorist group has claimed the attack, nor has the group been identified.
Thankfully, seven individuals have already been arrested in relation to the attacks, while security forces continue their investigation.
At the peak of the chaos, Sri Lankan officials also temporarily blocked several social media networks and set up a nationwide curfew from 6 am Sunday to 6 am Monday.
The name of the bomber involved in the Shangra La Hotel has been revealed, alongside a second individual as the police continue their investigation.
Editor’s Note: We will not be posting the name of the bomber on our site, as our guidelines forbid us from posting the names of individuals involved in mass-murders with political ideologies. In most cases, these individuals want to gain fame, and we will not help them do so.
While no official reasoning has been given, “documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago”, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.
“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” the alert said.
According to Deccan Chronicle, NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that was linked last year to the vandalism of Buddhist statues.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
The FBI has arrested a 27-year old white supremacist who planned to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado.
The suspect was identified as Richard Holzer. The FBI said that he was allegedly planning to target Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, which is the state’s second-oldest synagogue. Holzer was charged with attempting to obstruct religious exercise by force using explosives and fire, according to ABC News.
Holzer was arrested after he told an undercover FBI agent about his plans. The agent, posing as a white supremacist, found him on Facebook. Holzer told her about him being a skinhead and a former member of the KKK.
FBI said he used multiple accounts to propagate his views. At one point, the suspect posted in a group chat: “I wish the holocaust really did happen … they need to die.”
He wanted to poison the attendees with arsenic and attack the place with Molotov cocktails but later decided he needed something more “explosive.” He eventually chose dynamite.
On November 1, Holzer met three undercover FBI agents at a hotel. They showed him pipe bombs and dynamite and subsequently arrested him. Holzer confessed.
Michael Atlas-Acuna, the president of Temple Emanuel, said he learnt about this when news agencies started calling him for comments. He said the synagogue already has plans for dealing with these situations.
“We take our security very seriously here. We have been since what happened in Pittsburgh … we’re not going to be victimized and we’re going to defend ourselves,” Atlas-Acuna said. “I’ve never been naive to think that it couldn’t happen to us because there’s been other things that have happened in small communities like shooting churches, so I’ve never been that naive.”
“I think that all Jewish communities have to continue to protect themselves. Make sure they have armed guards, make sure they have security. We don’t like the idea that America that we have to deal with this, but again, it’s just a reality of where we live right now,” he added.
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has taken to social media to honor the anniversary and memory of two Canadian Armed Forces members who were murdered by terrorists in 2014.
Oct. 20 is the five-year anniversary of the death of 53-year-old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was deliberately run down while on duty in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Two days later, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down while standing guard at the National War Memorial by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who was later shot dead while storming the halls of Parliament.
Scheer wrote the following message in a Facebook post and on Twitter: “Five years ago this week, two Canadian heroes were murdered simply for wearing the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces. This tragic anniversary reminds us that Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. We must stand vigilant and ensure that we continue the fight against threats to our security. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo.”
The attacks were both immediately deemed terrorism, something relatively uncommon in Canada, and Canadians rallied to give their condolences. The attack on Parliament Hill is still remembered on the anniversary each year to commemorate the deaths of the two Canadian Armed Forces members.
“Warrant Officer Vincent and Cpl. Cirillo both had very important jobs: to defend our rights and our freedoms as a people,” Governor General of Canada David Johnston said in 2015. “They stood up for our democratic values of tolerance, of diversity, of equality, of fairness and of the rule of law, by which I mean the constant, relentless pursuit of justice.
“This is who we are. Our Parliament is a symbol of who we are. It too was attacked last October.”
As of writing, the other federal party leaders have yet to commemorate the fallen soldiers on home soil.
A vicious antisemitic attack has left two dead and others injured in Halle, Germany.
The hate-motivated attack on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, leaves the world, and particularly, the global Jewish community heartbroken.
While the two casualties were not affiliated with the synagogue, this horrific act of antisemitic violence is a continued indicator that the rise of antisemitic-based incidents continues to rise around the world, and particularly in Europe.
Fortunately, the shooter, Stephan Balliet was unable to enter the synagogue, but had thrown a grenade at the Jewish cemetery attached to the synagogue, and had supposedly left explosive devices in his car before he fled by taxi, and was later arrested.
Luckily, no worshippers were physically harmed in the attack and are safe.
Bailliet, now in custody, had livestreamed a diatribe mostly consisting of antisemitic, misogynistic, and anti-immigration based slurs on Twitch. The video was also shared to Telegram. Antisemitic comments on the video were reported to have been made on both platforms. The video has been subsequently deleted by Twitch.
It should be known that according to the ADL, “This attack is reminiscent of the Christchurch and Poway shooters, who both livestreamed or attempted to livestream their attacks.”
As English was used in part of the video, it is suspected that the video was intended to be shared with a worldwide audience.
Some of the concerning statements include “I think the Holocaust never happened” and “The root of all these problems is the Jew,” as reported by CNET.
Security around synagogues and other Jewish establishments increased across Germany. The President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that “It must be clear that the state takes responsibility for Jewish life, for the security of Jewish life in Germany.”
It is even more worrisome that on the Jewish day of atonement, the German people atone for yet another tragedy that has impacted its Jewish community.
This attack of antisemitic terrorism should never stop the Jewish community from freely practicing their faith. It serves as a reminder, however, that there needs to be continued caution taken towards the safety and security of Jewish people.
While it has been hard to move on from this attack, it is a major indicator that Holocaust and anti-racism based education is a much-needed addition to curricula across the world in educating young people of the consequences of hate.
Jewish people are the unfortunate canary in the coalmine when hatred and terror happen toward the community. It is a major signal of much more severe problems in society, and the need to combat racism in all its forms, and in all platforms, it exists as.
Earlier today Conservative Party Andrew Scheer stated that he would not “lift a finger” to help repatriate Canadians who went to fight for terrorist organizations like ISIS abroad.
The comments came while delivering an announcement that he would cut 25% in foreign aid spending for countries with a high developmental index.
“When it comes to terrorists and people who have fought for ISIS and horrible organizations around the world that commit grievous, horrendous crimes, I would not lift a finger to help bring them back to Canada,” said Scheer while fielding questions from reporters.
According to Public Safety Canada statistics, there are currently 190 Canadian Extremist Travellers (CETs) currently abroad. While a total of 60 have returned after fighting for a foreign terrorist entity.