Dhaka: Twenty foreigners, including an Indian girl, were hacked to death by suspected ISIS militants inside Holey Artisan Bakery, a cafe popular with expatriates in the diplomatic zone here, before commandos launched an assault yesterday, killing six attackers and capturing one alive. The attack was the worst terror attack in Bangladesh.
A Bangladeshi policeman injured in the attack is helped outside the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe. Pic/AFP
Director of military operations Brigadier General Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury said the militants slaughtered 20 hostages before the joint operation — codenamed Operation Thunderbolt — led by the armed forces to end the siege began. Most of those killed were found with their throats slit, he added. Two senior police officers were also killed in the gun battle that began on Friday night.
Minutes later after the operation began, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the end of siege.
Among those rescued were Indian, Sri Lankan, Italian and Japanese nationals. Most of the 20 hostages killed were Italian or Japanese.
The ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency, nearly four hours after the hostage crisis unfolded. The agency issued a number of photographs of what it said were scenes from inside the restaurant. The pictures showed a number of bodies lying in pools of blood.
Meals to a select few
The gunmen did a background check on religion of the captives by asking them to recite Quranic verses and tortured those who could not do so, the family of an eyewitness said, describing the 10-hour ordeal.
Hasnat Karim, wife Sharmin Karim, and their daughters were celebrating a birthday at the cafe when the attack began. “They (gunmen) did not behave rough with the Bangladeshi nationals,” said Rezaul Karim, Hasnat’s father.
“Rather, they provided night meals to all Bangladeshis. The gunmen asked everyone to recite from the Quran. Those who could recite a verse or two were spared. The others were tortured.”
The military-led rescue operation was launched jointly by a navy commando squad, paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh, elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion, along with special police units.
Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh PM
What kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion... terrorism is their religion
Attackers killed in 13 minutes, 1 captured alive
Injured in attack