Sri Lanka troops raid militants, find 15 bodies in house

(AP) Sri Lankan security forces found 15 bodies, including six children, early Saturday after militants linked to the Easter bombings opened fire and set off explosives during a raid on their house in the country’s east, police said.

The gunbattle began Friday night after police tipped off soldiers to a suspected safe house near the town of Sammanthurai , where authorities said the militants detonated three explosions and opened fire. At least three others were wounded in the attack, said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara.

He said that some of the dead likely were militants who blew themselves up in suicide bombings. Earlier, the military said at least one civilian had been killed in the attack.

Raids and police curfews shut down areas of eastern Sri Lanka as Catholic leaders canceled Sunday Masses indefinitely. Officials also urged Muslims to stay home for prayers in an extraordinary call by the clergy to curtail worship as fear of more attacks plagued the island nation.

Maj. Gen. Aruna Jayasekara, the local military commander, said soldiers and police waited until daylight Saturday to carry out further raids in Eastern Province given houses being built so close together.

Meanwhile, the military said security forces had recovered explosives, detonators, “suicide kits,” military uniforms and Islamic State group flags in the ongoing raids. Read More

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