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Dhaka restaurant siege — As it happened

Bangladeshi police stormed a restaurant in the capital Dhaka and rescued up to 10 hostages on Saturday, one official said, after an attack claimed by Islamic state.

Gunmen attacked the upscale cafe in the diplomatic area of Dhaka late on Friday and had been holding about 20 hostages, including foreigners, before police poured into the building to try to free those stuck inside. At least two police were killed.

Live updates

10.40 am: According to sources more than a dozen civilians are rescued alive, their identity is not disclosed. Many however are feared dead. All television channels, which were stopped, are going live now.

10.25 am: The commanding officer of Bangladeshi commandos says at least six of the militants have been killed and 13 hostages rescued after security forces cleared the main restaurant building at the end of the 10-hour standoff.

Lt. Col. Tuhin Mohammad Masud told The Associated Press that some militants were captured.

About 35 people were taken hostage, including about 20 foreigners, when gunmen stormed the Dhaka restaurant on Friday night.

Lt. Col. Masud says the rescued include a Japanese, who was injured, and two Sri Lankans.

10.21 am: Bangladesh hostage crisis ends after a commando operation, PTI says quoting media reports.

10.12 am: Bangladesh official says main building cleared; at least 6 militants killed, 13 hostages safe.

9.30 am: The U.S. has said it cannot yet confirm the Islamic State’s claim owning responsibility for the hostage crisis in a restaurant in Dhaka’s high security diplomatic area. “We have seen ISIL (ISIS) claims of responsibility, but cannot yet confirm and are assessing the information available to us,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

According to U.S. media reports, IS has claimed responsibility of the attack at Holey Artisan Bakery.

But according to CNN, senior U.S. officials believe that the attack has been probably carried out by al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent, which was declared as a terrorist organisation by the U.S. only a day earlier.

“You can say we are aware of these reports but refer to Bangladeshi authorities,” a senior administration official told PTI when asked about the news reports.

9.10 am: 2 big explosions heard inside Dhaka restaurant; police official says 5 bodies found, reports AP

8.20 am: 10 people, including two foreigners, are rescued from Dhaka restaurant, Reuters reports quoting a TV channel.

8.10 am: An AFP photographer at the scene said he could hear a massive gunfight as security forces launched the rescue operation more than 10 hours after militants seized the hostages.Five Bangladeshi hostages were rescued in the first few minutes of the operation, a security official told AFP. "They are rescued unharmed," he said.

8.03 am: Bangladesh police say one foreigner, probably Japanese, escaped in operation to free hostages

7.51 am: Bangladesh police say more than 100 commandos fighting gunmen at Dhaka restaurant to free hostages, gunmen retaliating

7.41 am: Bangladesh police storm restaurant to rescue hostages

Bangladeshi police stormed a Dhaka restaurant on Saturday to free 20 hostages, including several foreigners, that were trapped inside after gunmen had launched an attack on the upscale eatery late on Friday night, an official said.

“Our commandos have stormed into the restaurant. Intense gunfighting on,” Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, a deputy director at the Rapid Action Battalion force, told Reuters.

4.00 am: Seven Italian nationals among hostages, Italian state television said quoting the Italian ambassador to Bangladesh.

3.35 am: "Deeply saddened to know that Assistant Commissioner of Police Robiul Islam has been also killed in the exchange of gunfire at the Holey Artisan. He was a meritorious student of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Jahangirnagar University," wrote Shahab Enam Khan, a commentator on politics and diplomacy, on Facebook.

More comments poured on social media throughout the night.

3.00 am: The U.S. State Department says it has seen the claims of responsibility by the Islamic State group for the hostage-taking in Dhaka but cannot yet confirm it.

A White House official said President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his chief counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco. The president asked to be kept informed as the situation develops, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the president’s meetings.

State Department spokesman John Kirby says the U.S. is in contact with the Bangladesh government and has offered its assistance to bring those responsible to justice.

1.38 am: Sri Lankan nationals suspected among hostages in Dhaka restaurant.

"Hon Ruwan Wijewardene informed us of two possible Sri Lankans among hostages inside restaurant in Dhaka. We are urgently looking in to it. Our Deputy Cheif of Mission in Dhaka in touch with Police regarding the two individuals suspected to be among the hostages in the cafe," tweeted Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

1.26 am: Islamic State claims responsibility for Dhaka attack, reports PTI.

Reuters reports: A news agency run by Islamic State said the militant group's affiliates were responsible for an attack on a cafe in Bangladesh on Friday, where gunmen were holding hostages as police laid siege to the building.






1.20 am: Out correspondent Suvojit Bagchi reports from Kolkata:

Dhaka residents told The Hindu that few thousand alleged militants were arrested over last few weeks but security was not beefed up in the city anticipating a retaliation. "Any body could enter the Airport's secured area till Friday without showing identity card or ticket," said a eminent film producer of Dhaka.






1.10 am: More than two dozen members of police force sustained injuries, say police sources.

1.00 am:





12. 59 am: U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed about the attack, the White House said. “The president asked to be kept informed as the situation develops,” a White House official said.

12.58 am: Reuters reports:

The U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby, could not confirm whether private U.S. citizens were caught up in the “hostage situation.”

“We have accounted for all Americans working for the chief of mission authority” in Dhaka, Kirby told a press briefing. “We're still accounting for private Americans.”

12.55 am: At least 15 injured in the situation, while two police officers are dead.

12.53 am: Security heightened at Dhaka airport, but airport not closed.

12.51 am: Dhaka attack has traces of Mirpur incident and smaller terrorist incidents, say Rapid Action force in Dhaka.

12.48 am: Rabiul Alam, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Detective Department is shot and fighting for life according to SATs official sources, reports our Kolkata correspondent Suvojit Bagchi.





12.45 am: Dhaka restaurant waiters say eight individuals have attacked the restaurant.

12.45 am: Initial reports say the Ansarullah Bangla team has been blamed for the attack on Dhaka restaurant.

12.40 am: Gulshan is one of the most highly guarded areas of Dhaka as many foreign missions are located in the area.

"So it is a surprise how so many militants could enter such an area and took hostage," Mr Dutta said. "It is alarming for us, the minorities. It took place on a day when a Hindu priest was killed in the country."

12.10 am: Shyamal Dutta, Editor of a leading Bangladeshi newspaper, Bhorer Kagoj told The Hindu that an Indian girl is also among 20 hostages. "Her father claimed so on television. However, her name was not disclosed," Mr Dutta said. "Police operation is expected to start but has not started inside the bakery."

11.50 pm: A Bangladesh security officer has appealed to television channels to stop live broadcast of the situation.

11.40 pm: Associated Press reports Benazir Ahmed, director general of the elite anti-crime force Rapid Action Battalion or RAB, as saying that security forces were working to save the lives of the people trapped inside. Several foreigners are believed to be among the hostages inside the restaurant.

“Some derailed youths have entered the restaurant and launched the attack. We have talked to some of the people who fled the restaurant after the attack. We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers, we want to listen to them about what they want,” Ahmed said.

“Some of our people have been injured. Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.,” he said.

11.30 pm: Reuters reports Bangaldeshi policemen as saying that there are around eight or nine gumen involved in the situation.

11.25 pm: All Indian High Commission officials safe, > reports our correspondent Suhasini Haidar. The Indian High Commission is monitoring the situation, says the Ministry of External Affairs.






11.22 pm: Our correspondent from Dhaka, Haroon Habib writes:

Police and suspected criminals traded gunfire for hours on Friday night in Dhaka’s Gulshan area that houses the diplomatic zone.

The shooting started near Holey Artisan Bakery, Lakeview Hospital and Nordic Club at Gulshan-2 around 9:15pm on Friday, the police said.

Police also believe that several people including foreign nationals are believed to be trapped at the restaurant. Local media outlets said the armed miscreants took at least 10 to 12 foreigners as hostages. At least 30 people, including policemen, have been shot.

TV channels, reporting the incident live, said about five assailants entered one Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant on Road 79 of the Gulshan diplomatic zone and opened gunfire. A number of policemen and elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members cordoned off the area but no details were available. Assailants also hurled bombs, according to police.

TV reports said several people including policemen were believed to injured in the yet unexplained shooting in a sensitive area. Sumon Reza, a member of the kitchen staff of the Bakery who managed to escape, told journalists that several armed assailants entered the restaurant and first took the chief chef hostage.

A member of staff of a diplomatic mission who lives close to the place said that he had also heard shooting but did not know what really was happening there. Police have barricaded the streets leading towards the area.






11.20 pm: Bangladesh media reports: Police negotiator appeals "we are requesting the ones who are inside the restaurant to talk to us., relay us your demands" (ANI)

11.15 pm: The Dhaka Tribune reports that several police officials have been wounded with at least 20 civilians, mostly foreigners taken hostage.

11.10 pm: Too early to say who is involved or motivation for hostage situation in Dhaka: U.S. State dept. spokesman — Reuters

11.10 pm: Reuters reports that the hostage situation in Dhaka is 'still fluid', all U.S. citizens working under chief of mission accounted for: U.S. state dept

11.00 pm: Several foreigners are feared to have been taken hostages inside the restaurant, police said.





11.00 pm: A large number of policemen and Rapid Action Battalion cordoned off the restaurant.

10.55 pm: The attackers hurled bombs and were firing intermittently, injuring some policemen and people.

10.50 pm: A kitchen staff of the bakery, who managed to escape, said several armed men entered the restaurant around 8:45 PM and took the chief chef hostage, local media reported. “They set off several crude bombs triggering panic,” he added.

10.50 pm: According to police, about five armed men entered Holey Artisan Bakery, a restaurant popular with foreigners, and opened gunfire around 9:20 PM (local time).

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 7:10:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Dhaka-restaurant-siege-%E2%80%94-As-it-happened/article14466824.ece

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