20 civilians were killed after heavily armed militants held dozens of people hostage at a popular cafe in the Bangladeshi capital, a Bangladesh military official said Saturday.
Bangladesh security forces ended the intense hostage standoff in Dhaka, killing at least six gunmen and rescuing 13 hostages, police officials confirmed.
Police Lt. Col. Tuhin Mohammad Masud confirmed to the Associated Press that six assailants were gunned down and that the restaurant’s main building had been cleared after the raid. Though he mentioned “the operation is still going,” Masud added that there were casualties among hostages, but declined to disclose additional details.
In a nationally televised speech, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina confirmed that hostages had been killed, though she did not provide an exact number. Hasina also added that security officials arrested one of the militants and vowed to fight terrorism.
“Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act,” the Bangladesh Prime Minister said. “They do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism.”
Details on the number of recovered captives remain unclear. A Japanese government spokesman said that a Japanese hostage was rescued with a gunshot wound but seven others are unaccounted for. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said that the eight were together at the restaurant during the attack.
Masud said that two Sri Lankans also were rescued. Others included an Argentine and two Bangladeshis, local media reported.
About 35 people were reportedly taken hostage Friday night, including about 20 foreigners, when gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery at the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, a popular diplomatic zone.
As of 7:55 p.m. ET, the hostage situation was still ongoing, but Reuters reported gunfire had stopped. Security forces were trying to negotiate and end to the situation, Gowher Rivzi, an adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told Reuters.
The Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for a hostage takeover Friday at a restaurant popular with foreigners in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, that left at least two police officers dead at Holey Artisan Bakery.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Charles Ventura and Doug Stanglin