Sri Lankan security forces kill 15 people including 2 suspected Islamic State gunmen: The Sri Lankan security forces killed 15 people including two suspected Islamic State gunmen, six children and one civilian during coordinated raids on suicide vest factory and Islamist hideout in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara on Friday evening. The forces also seized huge cache of arms and explosives in Samanthurai six days after suicide bombers killed more than 350 people, reports said. Sri Lankan Army said three other civilians also sustained injuries during the shootout.
Reports said National Thowheed Jamaath (NJT) chief Zahran Hashim, who is said to be the mastermind behind multiple blasts in Sri Lanka, had spent substantial time in south India. Sri Lankan investigative agencies have identified nine suicide bombers, including a woman, so far. On Friday, Sri Lankan authorities confirmed that Hashim was one of the two suicide bombers who carried out the explosions at Shangri-La hotel on Colombo’s sea-facing Galle Road. Though the police have identified nine suicide bombers, they have so far not named any of the suicide bombers or suspects officially, Apart from that, more than 100 followers of Hashim’s Facebook page are being investigated.
On Friday, Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena said the country’s security forces will conduct a house-to-house search to root out terrorists. But he said
Meanwhile, members of the Badriya mosque in Katankudy confirmed that they had informed the Rajapaksa government in 2012 of the extremist activities of Zahran Hashim and provided vital information about him to eleven people including the Secretary of Defense, IGP and Attorney General.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the country’s government knew that Sri Lankan nationals who had joined Islamic State had returned to the country but they could not be arrested as joining a foreign terrorist organisation doesn’t violate the law.