Colombo: After earlier reports read that the Sri Lankan security forces raided a safe house of Islamic State-affiliated militants in the east of the country and killed at least two men in an exchange of fire on Saturday- it seems the toll of terrorists killed has risen to 15.

News agency PTI quoted, “Six children among 15 killed in raids on terror hideouts in Sri Lanka, say police.”

Gunmen opened fire on troops when they attempted to storm the house in the town of Kalmunai, military spokesman Sumith Atapattu said.

“In our retaliatory fire, two gunmen were killed,” he said adding that a civilian caught in the crossfire was also killed. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed nearly 253 dead and 500 injured but Colombo has blamed a local Muslim group, the National Thowheed Jamath (NJT).

Sri Lanka‘s special forces were engaged in a severe gun battle with suspected terrorists in Kalmunai city, in the Eastern Province on Friday evening, the military said.

In a statement, the army said a combined team of security forces including the Army came under fire when they were proceeding to search a suspicious location, which produces suicide bomb kits and explosives, reports Xinhu news agency.

According to local media, immediate curfew has been imposed in Kalmunai and surrounding areas.

Earlier on Friday evening, the military said security forces recovered flags belonging to Islamic State, literature and some other objects from a house in the Ampara district, also in the east, which is said to be the terrorist organization’s place for “oath-taking”.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday apologized to the nation for the failure to protect victims from Easter Sunday’s explosions which killed 253 people and injured over 500. A group of suicide bombers said to be nine, attacked churches and hotels in Colombo and elsewhere last Sunday, causing heavy loss of life. Many foreigners, including Indians, were among those killed.

In a statement on his official Twitter account, Wickremesinghe said, “We take collective responsibility and apologize to our fellow citizens for our failure to protect victims of these tragic events.

 

With input from agencies