Extremists connected to the Easter suicide bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed 15 people after opening fire and detonating explosives Friday night when authorities raided a home in the eastern part of the country.
Six of the dead were children, reported the Associated Press. The additional violence comes after a group of attackers targeted six hotels and churches and killed roughly 250 people, many of whom were Christians celebrating Easter, reported the Associated Press. Original reports put the death toll over 300 but it has since been revised down, reported BBC.
The Friday night killings came in the wake of a tipoff about a suspected safe house near the town of Sammanthurai, reported the AP. A woman and a girl survived the explosion at the house but are being treated for critical injuries, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said.
Sri Lankan officials are wary that the deaths will continue to pile up as they ferret out militants. They have recovered dangerous explosives and even ISIS flags, reported the AP. Police also said that the suspected ringleader of an Islamic extremist group that Sri Lankan officials blame for the initial bombings died in an explosion at the Shangri-La hotel in the country’s commercial capital, Colombo, on Easter.
Zahran Hashim, also known as Mohamed Zahran, was the leader of militant group National Thowheed Jamath and died in a suicide bombing, Sri Lankan police said. ISIS claimed responsibility Tuedsay for the bombings without providing evidence.
Life has not returned to normal in Sri Lanka, where Catholic leaders announced that all Sunday Masses are canceled in the wake of the Easter terrorist bombings. Leaders also encourage Muslims to avoid gathering to pray in fear of retaliatory attacks.
The tragic Easter bombings attracted horror and attention from worldwide media. But not all coverage was well-received. The Washington Post provoked an online backlash on Monday after publishing an article that said the recent terrorist attacks targeting Christians in Sri Lanka fueled “far-right anger in the West.”
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