Around 9 a.m. local time – roughly the same time a suicide bomber killed 29 of their fellow parishioners at the evangelical Zion Church two weeks ago – worshippers streamed silently into the hall.
Survivors of the attack on Easter Sunday ambled in on crutches or with an eye patch. Some clutched bibles. Many wiped away their tears.
Inside, several hundred worshippers knelt on the tile floor with their arms lifted toward the heavens, beseeching Jesus Christ to grant salvation.
“Come to our protection in this world where we are being hit by waves,” their voices sang out in Tamil.
More than 250 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded in the attacks by Islamist militants on churches and hotels across the Indian Ocean island on April 21.
COLOMBO (Reuters) – The bodies of 15 people, including six children, were discovered at the site of a fierce overnight gun battle on the east coast of Sri Lanka, a military spokesman said on Saturday, six days after suicide bombers killed more than 250 people on the island.
The shootout between troops and suspected Islamist militants erupted on Friday evening in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara district, to the south of the town of Batticaloa, site of one of the Easter Sunday blasts at three churches and four luxury hotels.
Sri Lanka has revised down the death toll from last Sunday’s wave of bombings by more than 100, to “about 253”, the health ministry says.
It blamed a calculation error and the difficulty of identifying victims.
Scores were killed and hundreds injured when suicide bombers struck hotels and churches in Colombo, Negombo and the eastern city of Batticaloa.
Most of those killed were Sri Lankan but dozens of foreigners were also among the casualties.
Nine people are suspected of carrying out the attacks. Police have continued carrying out raids and have issued photographs of seven people wanted in connection with the attacks.
Sri Lankan security personnel and investigators look through debris outside Zion Church following an explosion in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka bomber queued at hotel buffet before the blast – AFP-JIJI
COLOMBO – A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners.
The attacks were the worst act of violence to hit the country in the decade since the end of a bloody civil war that killed up to 100,000 people.
For many in Sri Lanka, the apparently coordinated attacks brought back painful memories of life during the long-running conflict, when bomb blasts were a frequent occurrence.