Several Americans were among the more than 200 people killed in terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday, according to the State Department.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the U.S. “condemns in the strongest terms the terror attacks” and that the State Department “can confirm that several U.S. citizens were among those killed.”
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Pompeo said the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka “is working tirelessly to provide all possible assistance to the American citizens affected by the attacks and their families.”
“These vile attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat terrorism,” he added. “We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they confront violent extremism and have offered our assistance as they work to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
According to the Associated Press, eight coordinated blasts rocked churches and hotels, killing at least 207 people and injuring hundreds more.
President Donald Trump extended his sympathies earlier Sunday.
“138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels,” he wrote on Twitter, using an initial death toll. “The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!”
The White House also released a statement on the mass slayings: “The United States condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka that have claimed so many precious lives on this Easter Sunday. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the more than 200 killed and hundreds of others wounded. We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they bring to justice the perpetrators of these despicable and senseless acts.”
The violence was the worst to hit the island nation since the end of a brutal civil war in 2009. That war, which lasted more than 25 years, ended when the government defeated the insurgent Tamil Tigers.
Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the attacks as a terrorist episode, and blamed religious extremists. It was not immediately clear who was responsible, though several suspects had been arrested.
The majority of Sri Lanka’s population is Buddhist, though there are significant minorities of other faiths (Hindu, Muslim and Roman Catholic).