Trump calls Sri Lanka PM to express condolences over attacks

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaks during a press conference in Colombo on April 21, 2019. – Eight people have been arrested in connection with a string of deadly blasts that killed more than 200 people in Sri Lanka on April 21, the country’s Prime Minister said. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump called Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday to express condolences over the killing of nearly 300 people in suicide bomb blasts at churches and hotels.

The attacks on Easter Sunday, which Sri Lankan authorities believe were carried out by a local Islamist group, were “one of the deadliest terrorist events since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said.

“Prime Minister Wickremesinghe expressed appreciation for the president’s concern and updated him on the progress of the investigation,” according to the White House.

Trump told the premier that he “pledged United States support to Sri Lanka in bringing the perpetrators to justice, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against global terrorism.”

In a brief statement on Twitter, Trump said he had also spoken with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday.

He later deleted this statement and the White House could not be immediately reached for comment on why.

A State Department official said that at least four Americans were killed in the bombings.

© Agence France-Presse