Colombo (AP) - After several explosions in a security-centered house in eastern Sri Lanka, 15 bodies have been found there.
The house in the coastal town of Sainthamaruthu was to be stormed in the course of an anti-terrorist raid by police and soldiers when, according to a police spokesman on Saturday came to the detonations. Among the dead are therefore six children and three women.
The building was said to have been surrounded on late Friday evening (local time), according to the spokesman. Reason for the operation were investigations after the devastating attacks of Easter Sunday with more than 250 dead, including dozens of foreigners. The security forces were reportedly shot at from the house. Shortly thereafter, there had been at least three explosions in the building. The police suspect that the detonations are due to one or more suicide bombers.
"We searched the building and found fifteen bodies, twelve in the house and three before," the spokesman said. A child and a woman had been taken to hospital injured.
A few hours earlier, several explosives vests, bomb-making equipment and a drone had been found in suspected Islamists in a home a few miles away, the police said. In addition, a flag of the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) and clothing was found, which could come from an alleged confession video of the assassins of Easter Sunday, which had spread the mouthpiece of the IS. Seven young Muslims were arrested during the raid in the village of Sammanthurai.
In the mostly Muslim-inhabited region is a large-scale search for more suspects, security forces combed several houses. In the island's capital, Colombo, the police also arrested three men near a railway station and found one kilogram of explosives.
Sainthamaruthu is located about 360 kilometers east of Colombo and not far from the town of Batticaloa, where a church had been attacked on Easter Sunday. Nine native suicide bombers, including a woman, made attacks on three Christian churches and three luxury hotels that day. The police then warned of new attacks by Islamists in the island state, especially on religious goals. Although dozens of suspects were in custody, some were still at large.