Matthew Stabley

Sidwell Friends 5th-Grader Killed in Sri Lanka Bombings

A fifth-grade student from Sidwell Friends died in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, according to the school.

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa was on leave of absence from Sidwell, living and studying in Sri Lanka. He was to return to Sidwell to study at the middle school next school year.

"Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year," the middle school's principal wrote in a letter to parents. "We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the middle school."

Sidwell will have counselors on hand to talk about Kieran's death with students and staff when they return from break Tuesday.

Nine bombings of churches, luxury hotels and other sites Sunday killed at least 290 people and wounded more than 500 others in Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago.

The coordinated blasts took place in the morning at St. Anthony's Shrine and the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo, as well as the two churches outside Colombo. They collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guests, and leaving behind scenes of smoke, soot, blood, broken glass, screams and wailing alarms.

A few hours later, two more blasts occurred just outside Colombo, one at a guesthouse where two people were killed, the other near an overpass, said Brig. Sumith Atapattu, a military spokesman.

Also, three police officers were killed while searching a suspected safe house on the outskirts of Colombo when its occupants apparently detonated explosives to prevent arrest, authorities said.

A pipe bomb with 110 pounds of explosives was found and defused late Sunday on a road to the international airport, said air force Group Capt. Gihan Seneviratne. It was powerful enough to have caused damage in a 400-meter radius, he said.

Most of those killed were Sri Lankans. But the three bombed hotels and one of the churches, St. Anthony's Shrine, are frequented by foreign tourists, and Sri Lanka's foreign ministry said the bodies of at least 31 foreigners from a variety of countries were recovered.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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