Sri Lanka: 15, including 6 kids, dead during ISIS' raids
A raid at an ISIS hideout near Kalmunai in Sri Lanka ended in deaths of 15 people, including six children, the country's police said on Saturday. Three suicide bombers blew themselves up and others were shot dead, police added. Women and six children in the safe house died due to explosives. Police have upped their crackdown in the aftermath of Easter attacks. Here's more.
The safe house doubled as storage facility and bomb-making factory
Police said the suspects were holed up inside a house which seemed like a storage facility or bomb-making factory. A large cache of explosives and nearly 100,000 ball bearings were seized from the house. Police also seized ISIS uniforms and flags. To recall, ISIS claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday carnage in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 and injured over 500.
The exchange of fire went on for an hour
Maj. Gen. Aruna Jayasekera said one of the terrorists fled on a bike and another is on the run as well. Another military official said the exchange of fire between terrorists and police, backed by troops, went on for more than an hour. The joint operation was carried out on the basis of a tip-off, reports said. No security forces personnel were hurt.
We are sorry: PM Wickremesinghe apologized to countrymen
The well-coordinated attacks, which targeted churches and high-end hotels, took place despite security warnings given to Colombo. Accepting the failures of the government, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe apologized to fellow countrymen for failing to protect them. "We pledge to rebuild our churches, revive our economy, and take all measures to prevent terrorism, with the support of the international community," his tweet read.
Mastermind of attacks allegedly spent some time in India
Meanwhile, reports claimed that leader of National Thowheed Jamaath, which Sri Lankan authorities said carried out the dastardly attack, spent some time in South India. A senior official said some elements could have been radicalized in Tamil Nadu. Zahran Hashim, the ringleader, carried out the attacks at Shangri-La hotel. He espoused extremist religious ideas, which even members of his own community didn't approve of.