Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people.
At least 15 people, including six children, were killed when suicide bombers blew themselves up when cornered by security forces in a suspected Islamic State hideout in eastern Sri Lanka, police said on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the manager of one of the Colombo hotels targeted by a suicide bomber has told the BBC of the moments leading up to the deadly attack.
A military spokesman says 15 bodies, including six children, were found in the house where the gunbattle took place late Friday. And quietly, according to authorities, the most extreme forms of Islam were taking root in a small community of Muslims, some of whom they say had links to the Islamic State group, which once controlled wide swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Police confirmed that the leader of the local militant group blamed for the attack, Mohamed Zahran, died in the suicide bombing at the Shangri-La Hotel.
The U.S. State Department, warning that terrorist groups were continuing to plot attacks, urged citizens to reconsider travel to Sri Lanka.
The US has also ordered the departure of all school-age family members of USA government employees.
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'Suspected mastermind behind Sri Lanka blasts spent time in south India'
Of the 15 people found dead in the house following the raid, six are suspected terrorists and nine are civilians, including six children , Maj.
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Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara gave the figures early on Saturday after a gunfight between soldiers and the suspected militants near Sammanthurai.
Troops raided a suspected safe-house in the town of Sainthamaruthu, close to the home town of the alleged ring-leader behind last weekend's attacks. Police showed the clothing and the flag on national television, as well as some 150 sticks of dynamite and about 1,00,000 ball bearings seized from the house. One of the men was shot by security forces after he came into the lane and began firing a rifle, said Lucian Sooriyabandara, a local police official.
"There is a close relationship between religious extremism and illegal drug trade".
The government has admitted major intelligence lapses, although Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he was unaware of any warnings ahead of the attacks, in a sign of the rift between him and President Maithripala Sirisena.
Almost 10,000 soldiers were deployed across the Indian Ocean island state to carry out searches and provide security for religious centres, the military said on Friday.
While monitoring the usual channels, Indian police stumbled upon something extraordinary: a detailed plot for what would become the bloodiest attack linked to the ISIS group in South Asia. They've also arrested more than 70 people in their investigations so far. The AP notes that, "Ranjith, who is the archbishop of Colombo, asked the faithful across Sri Lanka to stay home for their own safety".
Islamic State provided no evidence to back its claim that it was behind last Sunday's blasts.