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Egypt's Al-Azhar condemns Sri Lanka 'terrorist' attacks

Egypt's Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's foremost religious institution, on Sunday condemned "terrorist" attacks in Sri Lanka against hotels and churches celebrating Easter that killed more than 200 people.

"I cannot imagine a human being could target the peaceful on their celebration day," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the institution's grand imam.

"Those terrorists' perverted disposition goes against the teachings of all religions," he said in comments published on Al-Azhar's Twitter account.

At least 207 people were killed Sunday in a series of eight devastating bomb blasts, which ripped through hotels and churches where Christians were celebrating Easter.

"I pray that God grants patience to the families of the casualties and recovery to the injured," added Sheikh Tayeb.

Al-Azhar frequently denounces jihadist movements and regularly reaches out to the Christian faith.

In February, Pope Francis and Sheikh Tayeb signed a document on "human fraternity for world peace", hailed by the Vatican as an "important step forward in the dialogue between Christians and Muslims".

But some intellectuals have accused Al-Azhar's scholarly institutions of feeding fundamentalism and intolerance.