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Police enter mosque of Easter attacks-tied group

From Associated Press via Yahoo News and Sky News

Sri Lankan police have entered the main mosque of National Towheed Jamaat, just a day after authorities declared it and another organization terror groups over the Easter suicide bombings.

Police entered the mosque, located in Kattankudy in eastern Sri Lanka, on Sunday afternoon and stopped an interview with foreign journalists and officials at the mosque. Later, a senior police officer dispersed journalists waiting outside, saying authorities were conducting a "cordon and search operation." Police then left, locking up the mosque just before afternoon prayers were to start.

Authorities banned National Towheed Jamaat over its ties to Mohammed Zahran, the alleged mastermind of the attacks that killed over 250 people a week ago.

Meanwhile, four sources told Reuters Zainee Hashim, Rilwan Hashim and their father Mohamed Hashim, were among 15 killed in a fierce gun battle about 23 miles (37km) away on Sri Lanka's east coast on Friday night.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran, the suspected ringleader of the bombings that killed over 250 people on Easter Sunday, remains at large. The three dead men were in a video circulating for some time on social media in which they urged their followers to kill all non believers, police sources said.

Islamic State's Amaq news agency gave the names of three who died in the shootout as Abu Hammad, Abu Sufyan and Abu al Qa'qa. 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.

 


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