Bangladeshi police say they have rescued 13 hostages and killed six Daesh-linked gunman after security forces ended a siege at a cafe in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.
“Three of them are foreigners. Ten locals,” said Tuhin Mohammad Masud, a commander of Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion, which raided Holey Artisan Bakery and engaged in a gunfight with the attackers.
Bangladeshi police said Saturday morning that the café is free of gunmen now.
The café is popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families, located in the vicinity of the US Embassy.
Late on Friday, a group of armed attacked the upscale cafe in the diplomatic area of the capital at around 21:20 (13:20 GMT), setting off explosives and taking around 20 people, including foreigners, hostage. Police said eight to nine gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenades were holed up inside.
Several hours later, Police forces managed to enter the place to free the hostages. Two officers lost their lives in the clashes.
The fate of the seven other hostages was not immediately clear.
One foreigner, probably Japanese, also managed to flee the hospital. Tokyo said it cannot still confirm whether Japanese citizens were among those rescued.
Japan said one of its citizens had been shot and wounded in the attack, but the injuries were not life threatening.
Seven other Japanese nationals were also eating together at the café, but the Tokyo government said it had not been able to contact them.
Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh Mario Palma was quoted by Italy’s state TV as saying that seven Italians are among the hostages.
The Daesh terror group claimed responsibility for the attack. It posted photos of what it said were dead foreigners killed in the assault.
Addressing a live broadcast following the attack, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned the assault as a “heinous act” and emphasized the need for a firm fight against terrorism in his country.
“People must resist these terrorists. My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh,” he added.
He confirmed the number of those rescued and said one of the attackers had been arrested alive.
In recent months, Daesh and al-Qaeda have claimed several deadly attacks mainly targeting secular bloggers, academics and members of religious minorities, including Shia Muslims, Hindus and Christians.
However, Dhaka denies that Daesh is active in the country and blames opposition parties or local militant groups for the killings.