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Germany's Merkel condemns 'religious hate and intolerance' after Sri Lanka attacks

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Germany's Merkel condemns 'religious hate and intolerance' after Sri Lanka  attacks
Photos: AFP
13:53 CEST+02:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday condemned a wave of bombings against Sri Lankan churches and tourist spots, urging that the "religious hate and intolerance that have showed themselves in such a terrible way today must not win".

"It is shocking that people who gathered to celebrate Easter together were consciously targeted in this malicious attack," Merkel said in a condolence telegram published by a spokeswoman on Twitter.

Almost 160 people including dozens of foreigners were killed in a series of eight bomb blasts that ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in the island state Sunday.

The powerful blasts -- six in quick succession and then two more hours later -- wrought devastation, including at the capital's well-known St Anthony's Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.

Hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens were among the 158 dead overall, with Britons and Japanese also injured. A Portuguese man also died, the country's LUSA news agency reported.

Earlier Sunday, German foreign minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that "the German embassy in Sri Lanka is in touch with local authorities and striving urgently to discover whether Germans were affected too".

"Germany stands with Sri Lanka as a partner in this difficult hour," he added. 

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