15 people have lost their lives, including six suspected terrorists and nine civilians in a shootout between Sri Lankan police and suspected terrorists in Kalmunai.
Sainthamaruthu: At least 15 people, including six suspected terrorists, died in a shootout that involved Sri Lanka Police.
CNN reported that there were three explosions during the shootout with suspects in a house in Sainthamaruthu, Kalmunai.
Reports also said that of the 15 people found dead in the house following the raid, six are suspected terrorists and nine are civilians, including six children, major general Aruna Jayasekera said.
Police are also looking into a possible relationship between the civilians and the suspected terrorists.
Jayasekara also said that a wounded suspect fled on a motorbike, and another suspected terrorist could be on the run as well. As per the report, one of the six suspected terrorists found dead has been identified as Mohamed Niyas. Authorities identified him as a prominent member of the NTJ.
Police stated that the cities of Kalmunai, Chavalakade and Sammanthurai remain under extended curfew until further notice.
Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that authorities are working towards the elimination of “sleeper cells” who could initiate another round of attacks.
President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena stated that every household in the country would be checked and a list of permanent residents will also be established to ensure that no unknown persons could live anywhere.
CNN also reported that Catholic Sunday masses have been suspended "until further notice" in Sri Lanka. The announcement was made by the archbishop of Colombo cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, in an aim to ensure the safety of the worshippers.
Sri Lanka’s authorities had earlier stated that they had seized a large cache of explosives, ball bearings and even ISIS uniforms from a suspected bomb-making factory.
The Lankan police conducted raids after the attacks across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that killed hundreds of people.
Authorities in the island country believe that a splinter group of the local extremist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath was behind the attack.The authorities have neither accepted nor denied that the Islamic State could be behind it.
Last Updated 11:35 AM IST