A shootout between police and alleged terrorists in eastern Sri Lanka late Friday left at least 16 people dead and at least two terrorists on the run, CNN reported.
Fatalities included six children at the site of the overnight gun battle, Reuters reported. Four other civilians were killed, along with six suspected terrorists, Maj. Gen. Aruna Jayasekera told reporters.
Update 4/27 @ 7:11 a.m. EDT: Daybreak saw authorities finding charred bodies and a roof blown off the building, CNN reported.
Of the 10 civilians killed, one was a woman who was passing by on a rickshaw at the time of the raid, CNN reported.
Original report: The shootout occurred nearly a week after nine explosions hit multiple churches, hotels and other locations in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 253 people.
There were three explosions during Friday’s gun battle with suspects at a residence in Sainthamaruthu, Kalmunai, CNN reported. Authorities said they captured a large cache of explosives and more than 100,000 ball bearings, the network reported. Authorities also confiscated ISIS uniforms and flags from the house, which police believed was a bomb-making factory, CNN reported.
A local Islamic extremist group, National Tawheed Jamath, has been blamed for the attacks but has not claimed responsibility. The Islamic State group (ISIS) has claimed it was behind the attacks but authorities have not confirmed that claim, the BBC reported.
One of the six suspected terrorists found dead was identified as Mohamed Niyas, a prominent member of National Tawheed Jamath, CNN reported.
Since the Easter Sunday attacks, police in Sri Lanka have been staging raids nationwide to obtain more details about the suspected terrorists, The New York Times reported.