Written byAakanksha Raghuvanshi ·
Six children and three women were among 15 people killed when suicide bombers blew themselves up during a shootout with security forces in Sri Lanka's Eastern province, police said.
The security forces continued their hunt for members of the local terror-group National Thowheeth Jamath (NTJ) which was behind the deadly Easter Sunday bombings in which over 250 people were killed and over 500 injured.
Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel and Army troops were engaged in the gun battle with an armed group at a house in the Saindamarudu area in Kalmunai city, about 360 kilometers from the capital city, Colombo.
The heavily-armed men opened fire on troops, leading to the shootout yesterday night. A civilian, who was caught in the gun battle, also died.
It's believed that three men have set off explosives during the violent clashes.
"A total of 15 bodies were recovered comprising six men, three women, and six children. At least four suspected suicide-bombers are dead and three others who were injured are in hospital," a police spokesperson said.
The curfew imposed in Muslim-majority areas of Kalmunai, Chavalakade, and Sammanthurai would continue until further notice.
Speaking on the encounter, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said, "When the police was doing a joint search operation in Sainthamuruthu, gunfire was directed at them."
A suicide blast took place and the body of a terrorist with a T56 assault rifle was found at the site.
The police said that 20 more people were arrested in connection with the April 21 bombings.
Officials also seized 1kg of explosives near a railway station at Wellawatta, a popular south Colombo suburb.
At the security council meeting last night, it was decided that search operations to crack down on extremist terrorism must continue until the threat is completely eliminated.
The curfew in many areas was lifted at 4am today; the security has been improved at hotels and public places.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people. The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group NTJ for the attacks.
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