Holey Artisan Bakery siege: Twenty killed in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s government says 20 hostages were killed by suspected Islamists in a siege in cafe in the capital Dhaka.

Gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe late on Friday before troops entered almost 12 hours later.

Six of the attackers were killed and one was arrested, a government spokesman said. The attack was claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Some of those who were held were from Japan and Sri Lanka.

The siege began as diners were gathering to break their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

 

“It was an extremely heinous act,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a televised statement. “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.”

Army Brig Gen Naim Asraf Chowdhury said 13 people were rescued including one Japanese national and two Sri Lankans.

Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said seven other Japanese nationals were in the cafe, but that Japan’s government had not yet been able to contact them.

Gen Chowdhury said the victims had been “brutally” attacked with sharp weapons.

Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper said the gunmen tortured anyone who was unable to recite the Koran. They provided meals overnight for only the Bangladeshi captives, the Daily Star said.

Sumon Reza, a supervisor at the cafe, was in the restaurant when the attack began but managed to flee to the roof.

“The whole building was shaking when they set off explosives,” he told media in Bangladesh. He later jumped off the roof and escaped.

 

Source: BBC