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Children among 15 killed in Sri Lanka shoot-out

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 27, 2019 - Duration: 01:56s

Children among 15 killed in Sri Lanka shoot-out

Sri Lankan troops raided what they suspected to be a safe house linked to Easter Sunday bombings that killed hundreds.

They said 15 people, six of them children, were killed in a shoot-out.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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Children among 15 killed in Sri Lanka shoot-out

This was the scene of a shootout between Sri Lankan troops and suspected Islamist militants during a raid.

The military said Saturday (April 27) 15 people were killed, six of them children.

Security forces believe the militants were part of a group blamed for the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on three churches and four hotels that killed hundreds of people.

Troops heading for the suspected safe house say they were repulsed by explosions and gunfire and they retaliated.

They say they found a large cache of explosives there.

And these are bomb-making materials found in a separate raid on a house nearby, the military says.

Along with gelignite sticks and thousands of ball-bearings, they found this Islamic State flag.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, without providing evidence.

The raids took place just south of Batticaloa on the east coast, where one of the attacks occurred.

The others were in Colombo.

The government says the bombers were nine well-educated Sri Lankans, and they've identified eight of them.

They were suspected members of a home-grown Islamist group, National Towheed Jama'at.

Authorities are warning of more attacks on religious centers -- and the United States and Britain have warned their citizens against traveling to Sri Lanka.

The bombings in a tourist haven shattered the calm Sri Lanka had enjoyed since civil war ended a decade ago.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers have been deployed across the island.

Muslims and Christians have been urged to pray at home, and avoid religious gatherings that could become a target.

The Archbishop of Colombo said there'd be no Catholic masses anywhere in Sri Lanka this Sunday.

Officials have acknowledged intelligence warnings from India of possible attacks weren't shared widely enough.

President Maithripala Sirisena said this week top defense and police chiefs had kept him in the dark.

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