COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — As Sri Lanka marked per week for the reason that bombings that killed greater than 250 individuals on Easter Sunday, the Islamic State group mentioned that three of its fighters had blown themselves up throughout a raid by safety forces on their hide-out within the east of the nation.
Sri Lanka remained on excessive alert as raids continued to spherical up individuals suspected of getting involvement within the assaults on church buildings and motels final week. The archbishop of Colombo, the capital, who had suspended church providers for safety causes, provided a televised Sunday Mass from his house.
Regardless of being closed and cordoned off, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, one of many church buildings that was bombed, nonetheless drew dozens of worshipers on Sunday. They gathered exterior singing hymns and lighting candles behind a number of layers of barricades. Law enforcement officials and troopers dotted the world, with commandos conserving watch from the tallest buildings.
The navy mentioned surveillance aircrafts had been additionally conserving a watch on the primary airports, and naval patrols within the Indian Ocean had elevated their scrutiny of the northern and japanese waters across the island.
“Safety forces across the nation are recovering explosives, swords, machetes and so on. and arresting suspects,” mentioned Brig. Sumith Atapattu, a spokesman for the Sri Lankan Military.
With St. Anthony’s Shrine nonetheless being cleared of the blood and stays of these killed and wounded within the Easter blast, many worshipers overtly wept on Sunday because the bell began tolling simply earlier than 9 a.m., the identical time per week earlier suicide bomber had detonated his explosives, simply as Mass had been ending.
“I can’t sleep,” mentioned Sagaya Devi Edison, who had returned to the church on Sunday after being there throughout final week’s explosion. “There are kids now with out fathers, with out moms,” she mentioned, choking on her phrases.
Ms. Edison mentioned that she and her 23-year-old daughter had been seated on the entrance of the church, close to the altar, when the bomber had detonated a backpack filled with explosives close to the rear of the church. She mentioned that her 42-year-old neighbor, a lady named Bebi, had additionally been in attendance, however that her stays had but to be recognized.
On Saturday, the Islamic State claimed that three of its fighters had blown themselves up in the course of the Friday raid in japanese Sri Lanka, the newest occasion of the terrorist group claiming duty within the assaults. That may carry the full variety of suicide bombers to 12, together with the spouse of one of many bombers who detonated explosives when the police arrived on the household’s mansion after the explosions within the church buildings and motels.
Earlier, Sri Lankan safety officers had mentioned that 4 of the individuals in the home had detonated explosives.
The raid on Friday by Sri Lankan safety forces got here because the president ordered “house-to-house searches” for these linked to the assaults. Safety forces had narrowed in on a big home within the japanese city of Sainthamaruthu after stories of suspicious exercise. They had been met with gunfire and a number of explosions.
At daybreak on Saturday, after they went in to clear the besieged home, they discovered 15 our bodies and a wounded girl and youngster, later recognized by members of the family because the spouse and a baby of Zaharan Hashim, the person believed to have been behind the Easter assaults, who was a suicide bomber at one of many motels hit, the Shangri-La.
The Islamic State later mentioned in a press release launched on Sunday by Amaq, the group’s propaganda arm, that three of its fighters had lured safety forces to the home earlier than detonating their explosives.
The assertion was accompanied by an image of Mr. Zaharan posing with considered one of his youthful brothers, Rilwan. Each Mr. Zaharan and Mr. Rilwan had been named in an inside safety report this month that warned of potential assaults. Members of Mr. Zaharan’s fast household have apparently been followers of his radical ideology for years.
In an unverified video circulating on-line, Mr. Rilwan, Mr. Zaharan’s father and Mr. Zaharan’s brother-in-law are seen discussing martyrdom and jihadism, as kids cry within the background. A wall of the room the place the video was taken seems to match that of the secure home that was raided.
“Even when we’re annihilated or killed, this gained’t cease,” Mr. Rilwan mentioned within the video. “Even when our wives die, we are going to meet them in heaven.”