The blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday April 21 killed at least 290 people and left hundreds more injured. Search and rescue, victim identification have been carried out along with a counter-terrorist operation. The US Embassy in Colombo launched an ALERT, asking everyone to “remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to authorities immediately”.
- There were six suicide bombers involved in the explosions. So far, 24 suspects have been arrested in connection to the attacks.
- The FBI and Interpol are among the global agencies who are stepping in to assist the investigation.
- The Sri Lanka government may have had information about the attacks prior to the bombings. A minister claimed that US and Indian governments had warned of “something terrible,” but it’s unclear if any action was taken.
- More victims’ names and faces are emerging, among them 30 foreigners.
At Christmas Eve the Pontiff delivered a highly political speech arguing that Christians are obliged by their origins to show hospitality for today’s displaced persons, including immigrants and refugees.
“In this Child, God invites us to be messengers of hope,” Pope Francis said. “He invites us to become sentinels for all those bowed down by the despair born of encountering so many closed doors. In this child, God makes us agents of his hospitality.”
Pontiff closed by praying that the story of Christ’s birth will inspire Christians to action.
“We ask that your crying may shake us from our indifference and open our eyes to those who are suffering,” he said. “May your tenderness awaken our sensitivity and recognize our call to see you in all those who arrive in our cities, in our histories, in our lives.”
“Mary and Joseph, for whom there was no room, are the first to embrace the One who comes to give all of us our document of citizenship,” the Pope said, touching a particularly sensitive political issue in Italy at the moment.
Just days ago, the Italian Senate declined to adopt a measure that would have granted the children of immigrants and refugees citizenship by birth, rather than compelling them to apply at the age of 18 through a complicated and expensive bureaucratic procedure.
Nearly 90,000 of the faithful were killed for their beliefs in violent and gruesome attacks last year, according to a report by the Center for Studies on New Religions, making Christians the most persecuted group in the world. While some were killed as part of state-sanctioned persecution, as in places like North Korea, nearly one-third of the Christians who died in 2016 were executed at the hands of Islamic extremists like ISIS.
The study also found that as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016.
Today president Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting onwards including a temporary ban for an indefinite period of time for the most of the refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other countries of Middle East and Africa, according to congressional aides and Washington immigration experts.
Trump, who tweeted on Tuesday night that a “big day” was planned on national security on Wednesday 25/01/2017 is expected to order a multi-month ban on allowing refugees into the United States except for religious minorities, supposedly Christians escaping persecution, until more elaborate vetting is in place.
Another order will block visas being issued to all applicants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, according to the same unnamed inner sources.