Twenty hostages – all foreigners – and two police officers were killed when a group of gunmen attacked a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter Friday evening before Bangladeshi security forces were able to rescue 13 people and end the 10-hour overnight hostage situation by storming the café Saturday morning.
According to multiple sources, thirty-five people were taken hostages when the men attacked the restaurant Holey Artisan Bakery in Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” and exchanging gunfire with security forces. According to local police, the two police officers involved in this initial gunfire, Det. Rabiul and Officer in-Charge Salauddin Khan, were killed immediately after being struck by fragments from exploding bombs.
“We have removed 20 dead bodies from the scene. Most of them were brutally hacked to death with deadly weapons by the hostage takers,” said Brig. Gen. Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury, director of military operations for the Bangladeshi army at a press conference in Dhaka.
According to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, six gunmen were killed and one was captured alive. She also added “It was an extremely heinous act. What kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion. People must resist these terrorists.”
The news agency of Islamic State, Amaq announced that IS had carried out the attack and that at least 24 people had been killed. The agency also posted pictures showing what it said were dead and bloodied bodies inside the café.
According to reports, the rescue mission began at approximately 7:30 a.m. Saturday and the operation lasted for about an hour.
The U.S. Embassy in Dhaka posted an emergency message on its website asking American citizens to shelter in place and monitor the news amid ‘reports of shooting and hostage situation in Gulshan 2, Dhaka.”
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing that all American staff at the embassy had been accounted for.