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IS claims three militants killed in gunfight with Sri Lanka police

Sri Lankan soldiers at the site of the gunbattle with ISIS militants on Saturday (Getty)

Date of publication: 28 April, 2019

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The Islamic State group has claimed three of the militants killed in a shootout with police in eastern Sri Lanka.

The Islamic State group has claimed three of the militants killed in a shootout with police in eastern Sri Lanka.

In a statement published early on Sunday by the extremists' Aamaq news agency, IS gave their noms du guerre as Abu Hammad, Abu Sufyan and Abu al-Qa'qa.

It says they opened fire with automatic weapons and "after exhausting their ammunition, detonated on them their explosive belts."

IS falsely claimed their militants killed 17 "disbelievers" in the attack.

The militants often exaggerate their claims.

The claim 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.

Sri Lanka's military says the gunfight Friday night in the city of Kalumnai in Ampara District left 15 dead, including six children.

The clashes came hours after the security forces raided a nearby location where they believe Islamist radicals recorded a video pledge to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before carrying out the deadly Easter bombings.

The joint operation was carried out following a tip off that those responsible for the Easter suicide bombings were holed up in a built up area of Kalmunai, 370 kilometres east of the capital.

Police said they found an IS flag and uniforms similar to those worn by the eight fighters for the video before they launched Sunday's attacks against three luxury hotels and three churches, killing 253.

"We have found the backdrop the group used to record their video," the police said in an earlier statement on Friday night.

The Islamic State group had released the video two days after the attack.

Police showed the clothing and the flag on national television, as well as some 150 sticks of dynamite and about 100,000 ball bearings seized from the house.

Security forces armed with emergency powers have stepped up search operations for Islamic extremists responsible for the bombings.

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