US official wounded in Sri Lanka Easter bombing dies from her injuries in Singapore

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard as Catholic devotees pray at St Anthony's church after it was partially opened for the first time since the Easter Sunday attacks in Colombo, on May 7, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (AFP) - A US official wounded in Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday suicide bombings has died in hospital, raising the total number killed to 258, including 45 foreigners, officials said on Wednesday (May 8).

Ms Alaina Teplitz, the United States ambassador to Sri Lanka, paid tribute to Ms Chelsea Decaminada, who was seriously wounded when two bombers hit the luxury Shangri-La hotel in Colombo on April 21.

"We pay tribute to Chelsea - and all those lost and injured - by partnering with Sri Lanka and nations worldwide to bring unity in the face of terrorism," Ms Teplitz said.

Ms Decaminada, a graduate of Duke University, worked for the US Commerce Department and was on assignment in Sri Lanka when she was caught in the bombings, claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group and attributed to a local radical cell called National Thowheeth Jama'ath.

The bombers targeted three luxury hotels and three Christian churches. Nearly 500 people were wounded in the attacks, the worst single-day bombing against civilians in the Indian Ocean island.

Officials said Ms Decaminada was airlifted to Singapore for treatment, but she died from her injuries over the weekend.

"As we mourn her loss, we must continue to fight terrorism around the world," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry had previously said 44 foreign nationals died in the attacks, while another 10 are still unaccounted for.

Sri Lankan authorities say they have arrested or killed all the Islamists responsible for the April 21 suicide bombings, but the island still faces the threat of "global terrorism", Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday.

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