Colombo, Sri Lanka: Fifteen people including six children have died during a Sri Lankan security forces operation in the aftermath of the Easter attacks, as three cornered suicide bombers blew themselves up and others were shot dead, police said Saturday.
The three men set off explosives, also killing three women and six children inside what was believed to a jihadist safe house near the eastern town of Kalmunai on Friday night.
“Three other men, also believed to be suicide bombers, were found dead outside the house,” police said in a statement, adding that they had been shot.
Police backed by troops exchanged fire with those inside the house for over an hour, a military official said, adding that the bodies were recovered early Saturday following a search operation.
Security forces have stepped up their searches for extremists after the ISIS group claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels, which killed least 253 people and wounded hundreds more.
The joint operation between the police and the army was carried out following a tip-off that those responsible were holed up in a built-up area of Kalmunai, 370 kilometres (230 miles) east of the capital.
Sri Lankan police continue hunt for ISIS-linked suspects
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena says police are looking for 140 people believed to have links with the ISIS group over the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people.
There were no casualties among the security forces, the police said.ke of the attacks.