15 dead as Sri Lanka security forces raid militant hideout

Fifteen individuals including six kids have passed on amid a Sri Lankan security powers activity in the consequence of the Easter assaults, as three cornered suicide aircraft exploded themselves as well as other people were shot dead, police said on Saturday.

The three men set off explosives, additionally killing three ladies and six youngsters inside what was accepted to be a jihadist safe house close to the eastern town of Kalmunai on Friday night.

“Three other men, likewise accepted to be suicide planes, were discovered dead outside the house,” police said in an announcement, including that they had been shot.

Warriors empty a harmed tyke after the assault in Kalmunai on April 27. — AFP

Police supported by troops traded fire with those inside the house for over 60 minutes, a military authority stated, including that the bodies were recouped early Saturday following an inquiry activity.

Fifteen people including six children have died during a Sri Lankan security forces operation in the aftermath of the Easter attacks, as three cornered suicide bombers blew themselves up and others were shot dead, police said on Saturday.

The three men set off explosives, also killing three women and six children inside what was believed to be a jihadist safe house near the eastern town of Kalmunai on Friday night.

“Three other men, also believed to be suicide bombers, were found dead outside the house,” police said in a statement, adding that they had been shot.

Soldiers evacuate an injured child after the raid in Kalmunai on April 27. — AFP
Soldiers evacuate an injured child after the raid in Kalmunai on April 27. — AFP

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.

Security forces have stepped up their searches for extremists after the militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels, which killed least 253 people and wounded hundreds more.

 

The joint operation between the police and the army was carried out following a tip-off that those responsible were holed up in a built-up area of Kalmunai, 370 kilometres east of the capital.

There were no casualties among the security forces, the police said.

The governme major intelligence lapses, although Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he was unaware of any warnings ahead of the attacks, in a sign of the rift between him and President Maithripala Sirisena.

“If we had any inkling, and we had not taken action, I would have handed in my resignation immediately,” he told the BBC.

“But what do you do when you are out of the loop?”

Sirisena tried to sack Wickremesinghe last year, and experts believe the feud could have played a part in Sri Lanka’s failure to act on intelligence warnings given weeks before the attacks.

Studio raided

Friday’s clashes came hours after the security forces raided a nearby location where they believe Islamist radicals recorded a video pledge to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before carrying out the Easter bombings.

Police said they found an IS flag and uniforms similar to those worn by the eight fighters for the video before they launched the attacks. IS released the video two days after the attacks.

The head of a local extremist group, Zahran Hashim, who appeared in the video, was killed at one of the Colombo hotels targeted, the Shangri-La. He was accompanied by a second bomber identified as Ilham Ibrahim.

Authorities had been desperately searching for Hashim after naming his group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), as the perpetrators of the attack, but announced on Friday he had been killed in the hotel bombing.

DNA tests are being done on a severed head to conclusively establish that it is Hashim’s, officials said.

Radicals hunted

The government is on the defensive over its failure to heed a foreign intelligence warning that NTJ was planning suicide bombings on churches.

Police chief Pujith Jayasundara became the second top official to resign over the blunders on Friday, after top defence ministry official Hemasiri Fernando also stepped down.

Sri Lanka’s Catholic leader, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, has said he felt “betrayed” by the government’s failure to act on the warnings.

Wickremesinghe apologised on Friday.

“We take collective responsibility and apologise to our fellow citizens for our failure to protect victims of these tragic events,” the PM wrote on Twitter.

The military have poured troops onto the streets to back up police as they search for suspects using newly granted powers under a state of emergency.

At least 94 people are in custody, including a man believed to be the father of two of the bombers.

“We now have info that there are about 140 people in Sri Lanka linked to the Islamic State. We can and we will eradicate all of them very soon,” Sirisena said on Friday, announcing new legislation to ban extremist groups.

Tourism hit

Dozens of foreigners died in the attacks and the government has said it expects the number of overseas tourists to fall by 30 per cent this year, at a cost of $1.5 billion in revenues.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the island — which depends on tourism as a cornerstone of its economy — could take up to two years to fully recover.

The US State Department on Friday escalated its travel warning for Sri Lanka and ordered the departure of all school-age family members of US government employees.

Terrorists “may attack with little or no warning”, it said in a statement that advised citizens to reconsider travelling to the island.

Several nations including Israel, Australia and Britain have already warned their citizens against visiting Sri Lanka in the wake of the attacks.

Security powers have ventured up their scans for fanatics after the activist Islamic State (IS) bunch guaranteed duty regarding the suicide assaults on three holy places and three lavish inns, which murdered least 253 individuals and injured hundreds more.

Peruse: Most Sri Lanka aircraft were exceptionally taught

The joint activity between the police and the military was taken out after a tip-away that those mindful were squatted in a developed region of Kalmunai, 370 kilometers east of the capital.

There were no losses among the security powers, the police said.

The administration has conceded real knowledge slips, albeit Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he was ignorant of any alerts in front of the assaults, in an indication of the fracture among him and President Maithripala Sirisena.

“In the event that we had any suspicion, and we had not made a move, I would have turned in my acquiescence quickly,” he told the BBC.

“Be that as it may, what do you do when you are unware of present circumstances?”

Sirisena endeavored to sack Wickremesinghe a year ago, and specialists trust the quarrel could have had an influence in Sri Lanka’s inability to follow up on knowledge alerts given a long time before the assaults.

Studio attacked

Friday’s conflicts came hours after the security powers attacked an adjacent area where they trust Islamist radicals recorded a video promise to IS pioneer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before completing the Easter bombings.

Police said they found an IS banner and garbs like those well used by the eight warriors for the video before they propelled the assaults. IS discharged the video two days after the assaults.

The leader of a nearby radical gathering, Zahran Hashim, who showed up in the video, was murdered at one of the Colombo lodgings focused on, the Shangri-La. He was joined by a second plane distinguished as Ilham Ibrahim.

Experts had been urgently scanning for Hashim subsequent to naming his gathering, National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), as the culprits of the assault, however reported on Friday he had been killed in the inn shelling.

DNA tests are being done on a disjoined head to indisputably set up that it is Hashim’s, authorities said.

Radicals chased

The legislature is on edge over its inability to notice an outside knowledge cautioning that NTJ was arranging suicide bombings on houses of worship.

Police boss Pujith Jayasundara turned into the second high ranking representative to leave over the bumbles on Friday, after top guard service official Hemasiri Fernando likewise ventured down.

Sri Lanka’s Catholic chief, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the ecclesiastical overseer of Colombo, has said he felt “deceived” by the administration’s inability to follow up on the alerts.

Wickremesinghe apologized on Friday.

“We assume aggregate liability and apologize to our kindred residents for our inability to ensure casualties of these sad occasions,” the PM composed on Twitter.

The military have poured troops onto the lanes to back up police as they scan for suspects utilizing recently allowed powers under a highly sensitive situation.

Somewhere around 94 individuals are in care, including a man accepted to be the dad of two of the aircraft.

“We presently have information that there are around 140 individuals in Sri Lanka connected to the Islamic State. We can and we will kill every one of them very soon,” Sirisena said on Friday, reporting new enactment to boycott fanatic gatherings.

The travel industry hit

Many outsiders passed on in the assaults and the administration has said it anticipates that the quantity of abroad sightseers should fall by 30 percent this year, at an expense of $1.5 billion in incomes.

Account Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the island — which relies upon the travel industry as a foundation of its economy — could take as long as two years to completely recuperate.

The US State Department on Friday raised its movement cautioning for Sri Lanka and requested the takeoff of all school-age relatives of US government representatives.

Psychological militants “may assault with almost no notice”, it said in an explanation that prompted natives to reevaluate venturing out to the island.

A few countries including Israel, Australia and Britain have just cautioned their residents against visiting Sri Lanka in the wake of the assaults.

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