COLOMBO: Sri Lankan security forces killed suspected militants linked to easter suicide bombings during a raid.
However, six children were also killed in the raid on a house.
The security forces conducted a raid on a house in the country east. Upon this the militants opened fire and set off explosives, leaving behind a grisly discovery: 15 bodies, including six children.
The gunbattle that began Friday night and the carnage that followed come amid widespread fear of more attacks as officials hunt for militants with explosives believed to still be at large after the coordinated bombings of churches and luxury hotels that killed more than 250 nearly a week ago.
Raids and police curfews have shut down areas of eastern Sri Lanka, and Catholic leaders have cancelled Sunday Masses indefinitely. Officials also urged Muslims to stay home for prayers in an extraordinary call by the clergy to curtail worship.
The gunfight came after police tipped off soldiers about a suspected safe house near the town of Sammanthurai, where the militants detonated three explosions and opened fire. At least three others were wounded in the attack, said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara.
He said that some of the dead likely were militants who blew themselves up in suicide bombings. Earlier, the military said at least one civilian had been killed in the attack.
Meanwhile, the military said security forces had recovered explosives, detonators, “suicide kits,” military uniforms and Daesh group flags in the ongoing raids.
Gunasekara said officers acting on information from intelligence officials also found 150 sticks of blasting gelatin and 100,000 small metal balls, as well as a van and clothing suspected of being used by those involved in the Easter attacks. Suicide bomb vests often are packed with such balls to increase the shrapnel in the explosion, making them even deadlier.
Fear of more attacks has led to increased security at shrines, churches, temples and mosques across the multiethnic country of 21 million off the southern coast of India.