The Islamic State group claimed three of the militants who blew themselves up during a bloody police raid in Kalmunai linked to the Easter Day bombings.
In a statement carried by the extremists’ Amaq news agency, IS identified the bombers by their noms de guerre. It said they opened fire with automatic weapons and “after exhausting their ammunition, detonated … their explosive belts.”
Sri Lanka’s military said the gunfight Friday night near the town of Sainthamarudu left 15 dead, including six children, when militants opened fire and set off explosives in suicide bombings as security forces closed in on their safe house.
IS falsely claimed their militants killed 17 “disbelievers” in the attack. The militants often exaggerate their claims.
The IS report carried a photograph of two men before an IS flag, one carrying a Chinese variant of the Kalashnikov rifle like the one found at the scene, another smiling.
A girl and a woman survived the explosion but were critically injured and being treated at a hospital, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said.
Photographs taken by The Associated Press show the charred remains of one child and the body of another wearing a green T-shirt with the words “good boy” written on the back. The bodies of an adult woman and man were found after the explosion with their clothes burned off.
The military said security forces had recovered explosives, detonators, “suicide kits,” military uniforms and IS flags during the raids in the area.
Gunasekara said officers acting on information from intelligence officials also found 150 sticks of blasting gelatin and 100,000 small metal balls, as well as a van and clothing suspected of being used by those involved in the Easter attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels that left more than 250 people dead and hundreds injured —the bloodies assault linked to the IS in South Asia.