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Sri Lankan military finds 15 bodies, including 6 kids, after shootout at suspected militant hideout

Sri Lankan military finds 15 bodies, including 6 kids, after shootout at suspected militant hideout
A total of 15 bodies, including six children, have been found at the site of a prolonged gun battle between military police and suspected Islamic militants believed to be linked to Sunday’s church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka.

The dead were discovered in a house in Sainthamaruthu as authorities cleared the area on Saturday morning following the overnight shootout, which police and military had earlier said killed four gunmen and a civilian. Fighting broke out on Friday night between the troops and suspected terrorists believed to be connected with the Easter Sunday attacks, which targeted several churches and luxury hotels, killing 253 and injuring hundreds more. One of the bombings happened in nearby Batticaloa.

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Three suicide bombers were among the dead, according to military spokesman Sumith Atapattu, who said they were suspected members of National Towheed Jama’at, the group believed to be behind the attacks.

Also in the eastern part of the country, two militants and one civilian were killed in a firefight between troops and suspected militants near Sammanthurai as the hunt for suspects in Sunday’s attacks continued. The fighting began on Friday night after troops raided a safe house on a tip from police, encountering militants who set off multiple explosions and opened fire. At least three were wounded in the battle.

Security forces have reportedly recovered explosives, military uniforms, detonators, materials used to make suicide vests, and Islamic State flags in the raids, according to the military.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers are searching the country for suspects linked to the bombings, and over 70 individuals have been detained so far. Police said on Friday they were searching for 140 people believed to have links with the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

Also on rt.com ‘Why was warning ignored?’ Sri Lankan minister tweets intel letter from 10 days before bombings

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