Heavy clashes erupted in the coastal town of Sammanthurai on April 26, when Sri Lanka security forces raided a suspected bomb factory linked to the recent Easter Sunday bombings.
Citing a military spokesman, Sky News reported that an explosion rocked the area and when officers went to investigate they were fired upon. Later more explosions were heard. The Police believe that some of the suspects may have blown themselves up.
Earlier, a joint force of Sri Lanka army, police and Special Task Force (STF) uncovered a hideout in Sammanthurai. Explosive materials, a large amount of fuel, a small drone and an ISIS flag were found there.
Seven suspects, who are believed to be linked to the terrorist attacks, were also apprehended in two separate security operations in the towns of Dharga and Kilinochchi.
More than two hundreds pf civilians were reportedly killed in the bombings, which targeted the St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, the Zion Church in Batticaloa as well as the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks few days later and released a photo of the suicide bombers. Infamous radical scholar, Zahran Hashim, was among the attackers.
Sri Lankan authorities are currently searching for 140 suspects thought to have links with the terror group. It remains unclear how many of these suspects have been arrested so far.
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