SIX gunmen have been killed after they massacred at least 28 people, including 20 foreigners of which the majority are said to be from Italy and Japan, during an attack on a cafe in Bangladesh, according to reports.
The armed raiders stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka late on Friday, July 1, on the last weekend before the Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr, at a time when the establishment, which is popular with affluent locals and foreigners, was filled with diners.
Witnesses described up to nine militants, believed to be linked to Daesh, shouting “Allahu Akbar” as they apparently entered the eatery after security guards in the Gulshan district of the capital city spotted them outside a medical centre.
A siege then developed, with restaurant customers and staff held hostage and initial attempts by police to enter being rebuffed by a hail of grenades and gunfire, during which two officers were reportedly killed.
The standoff continued for around twelve hours, with Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper reporting that the assailants tortured anyone who was unable to recite the Koran, with most of them murdered using “sharp intruments.”
Over a hundred commandos eventually charged the cafe, with thirteen hostages freed and one of the attackers arrested, as Daesh claimed responsibility, posting photos on its self-styled propaganda agency Amaq, which it claimed were of foreigners killed in the battle.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appeared on television after the tragic event, and he said: “It was an extremely heinous act, what kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion.
“My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh.”
Sumon Reza, a supervisor at the cafe, managed to escape to the roof before fleeing the scene, told national media that “The whole building was shaking when they set off explosives,” as television footage showed blood-stained police officers being led away after the gunmen apparently failed to respond when asked to negotiate.