Colombo, April 26: A shooting broke out between the police and a group of men during a raid in Sri Lanka on Friday, days after suicide bombings on Easter Sunday. The gunbattle broke out when police officials went to investigate an explosion in the coastal town of Ampara Sainthamaruthu, 200 miles from the capital. The details of casualties were not immediately available. At least 70 suspects have been arrested so far in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks.
According to Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, there was an explosion in the area and when soldiers went to investigate they were fired upon, The Independent reported. The soldiers were attempting to raid a property believed to have been used to manufacture suicide vests. The Sri Lankan police are trying to track down as many as 140 suspects believed to have links with terror outfit ISIS which claimed responsibility for the bombings. Burj Khalifa Lights Up With Sri Lanka Flag to Show Solidarity With Blast Victims.
Earlier today, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe apologized to the nation for the failure to protect victims from Sunday's explosions which killed 253 people and injured over 500. "We take collective responsibility and apologize to our fellow citizens for our failure to protect victims of these tragic events," Wickremesinghe said in a statement on his official Twitter account. Sri Lanka Serial Blasts: US, UK, Australia Issue Travel Advisory For Citizens, Warn of More Attacks.
Wickremesinghe said the police had received prior information of possible terror attacks but had failed to take adequate measures against the threats. President Maithripala Sirisena, in a media briefing on Friday morning, told journalists that Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara had received prior warnings from state intelligence over possible attacks but had failed to brief him as well.
The country has been in a state of emergency after suicide bombers hit three luxury hotels in Colombo and three churches around the country during Easter services in a series of coordinated attacks. A few hours later, a seventh blast rocked a small hotel about 12 km south of the capital while an eighth explosion took place at a residential compound in Dematagoda in Colombo.