Following the Easter Sunday Massacre, the most devastating attack targeting Christians in recent history, Sri Lanka is fighting back.
Immediately after the massive coordinated assault that killed over 200 people and injured hundreds more, Sri Lankan leaders promised a strong response to identify and eliminate the perpetrators. “I have given instructions to take very stern action against the persons who are responsible for this conspiracy,” said Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena.
Shortly after the attack, the official media outlet of Islamic State, Amaq News Agency, released several statements claiming responsibility for the attack by the group. Some of these releases were dedicated to honoring the “martyrs.” Another highlighted the organization’s intent to continue targeting Christians due to their participation in the war against the Islamist “enterprise.”
Recent news shows that the government has wasted little time in locating ISIS operatives. According to reports, security forces recently conducted a large raid in the east coast city of Sainthamaruthu. Some fifteen people including several children were killed in the ensuing shootout which ended in militants blowing themselves up. The father and two brothers of the alleged organizer of the Easter Sunday bombings, Zahran Hashim, were among those killed in the operation. Seemingly, the ISIS members were busy preparing for additional attacks. A substantial amount of tactical equipment such as small arms and grenades, as well as other hardware like an electrical generator and a drone, were found in the building housing the cell.
This operation will almost certainly not be a one-time operation. The Sri Lankans have kicked off an all-encompassing effort to purge the country of Islamist militants, a project that will probably not be a short one.