Hostage situation deepens in Dhaka: 20 killed, ISIS claims responsibility
At least nine gunmen have stormed a cafe popular with expats and locals in Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka on Friday. At least 20 people were killed in ISIS-claimed attack at a Dhaka restaurant on Saturday, says Amaq news agency as quoted by Reuters.
The attack began a little after 9.20 pm local time. The gunmen is said to have taken several diners of O’ Kitchen and the Holey Artisan Bakery hostage in Gulshan area.
At least 40 police officers have been injured in the exchange of fire between the gunmen and police, the Dhaka Tribune said in an update on its website.
Some of the residents who are living in Gulshan area have said the gunfire has been going on for more than three hours.
Rabiul Islam, Assistant Commissioner of Police succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Another inspector also died after being admitted to the hospital.
Police have not been able to ascertain the identities of the attackers. There are unconfirmed reports that the gunmen were chanting “Allahu Akbar” while storming the cafe.
ISIS has claimed responsibility of the attack in Dhaka cafe, US based terror monitoring group SITE has said.
A supervisor who escaped said the gunmen had taken at least 20 to 30 diners, all of them foreign nationals as hostages.
He said two of the attackers were under 30 and was carrying small firearms.
Two of the staff are foreigners. the Italian baker managed to escape, but the fate of an Argentine staff is unknown.
Over 200,000 foreigners are living in Bangladesh. Most of these work for diplomatic missions, multi-lateral and aid agencies.
The US State department has confirmed that Americans working with its mission in Dhaka had been accounted for.
O’ Kitchen is a sister concern of Holey Artisan Bakery, which is popular for its breads, tarts and croissants.
Bangladesh has witnessed a sudden spurt in Islamist violence . There have been several attacks on liberals, secular activists, religious and sexual minorities over the past two years.
Most of these murders have been claimed by ISIS and Al qaeda. However Sheikh Hasian government has denied it and have blamed it on home grown terrorists.
The killing of two foreigners last year has spooked the $ 25 billion garment industry, the mainstay of the the south Asian nation.
Following the killings, most of the buyers and sourcing agents for Western retailers are reluctant to come to Bangladesh. Most prefer to do fix their deals in New Delhi or Dubai, ready made garment manufacturers say.