At least 15 people, including six children, died during a raid by Sri Lankan security forces as three-cornered suicide bombers blew themselves up and others were shot dead. The three men set off explosives killing three women and six children inside what was believed to an Islamist safe house near the eastern town of Kalmunai, last night.
Sri Lanka police confirmed today that three other men, also believed to be suicide bombers, were found dead outside the house. Police backed by troops exchanged fire with those inside the house for over an hour, a military official said, adding that the bodies were recovered early Saturday following a search operation.
Gunmen opened fire on troops when they attempted to storm the house under cover of darkness, military spokesman Sumith Atapattu said adding that a civilian had got caught in the crossfire and died. The shootout between troops and suspected Islamist militants erupted last evening in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara, to the south of the town of Batticaloa, site of one of the Easter Sunday blasts at three churches and four luxury hotels.
Police said on Friday they were trying to track down 140 people they believe have links with Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings. Police have detained at least 76 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt, in their investigations so far.