Sri Lanka: 15 dead in gun-battle with Islamists
In a fierce overnight battle between Sri Lankan troops and the suspected Islamic State militants as the search operations were underway, at least 15 people were killed including 6 children and 3 women. The whole incident took place along the east coast of Sri Lanka after about six days of the suicide bombing on Easter which claimed lives of 250 people on the island nation.
The shootout had taken place in the Sainthamaruthu in Ampara district which lies in the south of the Batticaloa town which is one of the sites of Easter blasts. A spokesperson, said, that at least three suicide bombers were also among the 15 people who had died. The responsibility of the attacks which had taken place at many places including the capital city of Colombo. The authorities at Colombo have issued warning that there can be more of such attacks which will be specifically targeting the religious centres. The attack has completely disturbed the calm which had been achieved in the island nation after the civil war against the Hindu-ethnic separatists had ended a decade ago.
The State Department of the US has urged its citizens to reconsider their travel plans to Sri Lanka as the terrorist organisations were continuing to plot more attacks in future. In a statement, the State Department has ordered the departure from the country of all the school-age family members of the employees of the US government and has also allowed the non-emergency employees to leave. Similar warnings have also been issued by Britain to avoid travelling to Sri Lanka unless it was extremely necessary.
The gun-battle along the east coast had broken out when the troops were headed towards a safe house of the militants but were repulsed by gunfire and at least 3 explosions. The troops also retaliated and then carried out the raid on the safe house where they found a huge cache of explosives. The militants were assumedly from the domestic Islamic group National Towheed Jama’at NTJ the organisation which is said to behind the Sunday attacks. In a search in another house in the same area, many bomb-making materials, many dozens of gelignite sticks and ball bearings in thousands were found along with many banners of Islamic State and uniforms. Police are trying to look for 140 people who had links with the Islamic State.