Relatives of Sri Lanka Suicide Bombings Mastermind Wounded in Gunbattle

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuters) -
Security personnel seen at the site of an overnight gun battle between troops and suspected Islamist terrorists, on the east coast of Sri Lanka, in Kalmunai, April 27. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

The wife and a daughter of the suspected mastermind of suicide attacks on churches and four hotels in Sri Lanka were wounded in a gunbattle that erupted following a raid in the east of the country, police and his sister said on Saturday.

The shootout at a safe house erupted on Friday in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara district on the east coast as police hunted for people linked to Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran, who has been named as the ringleader of the bombings.

“Yes, the wife and daughter were injured in the attack,” said Mohamed Hashim Mathaniya , sister of Zahran. “I was asked to come to identify them but I am not sure I can go, ” she told Reuters from the town of Kattankudy in the east.

Police officials said the injured were believed to be Zahran’s relatives.

At least 15 people including six children were killed in the gun battle, a military spokesman said earlier.