Cafe Under Control By ISIS Group
Dhaka – Armed attackers are holding as many as 20 hostages at a cafe in a diplomatic zone of Bangladesh’s capital. A gun-battle with police left at least one officer dead. The ISIS controlled radio station is broadcasting that they are taking credit for the hostage siege.
As police exchanged fire with the gunmen, the attackers threw explosives at officers, a source at the scene said.
Gunmen have stormed a popular cafe in the diplomatic area of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, taking a number of hostages, officials say.
Several foreigners are among those being held by eight or nine armed men in the city’s Gulshan district, they add.
A police officer has been killed and at least five others injured in a gun battle, a spokesman said.
So-called Islamic State has said it carried out the attack.
A statement on the group’s self-styled news agency Amaq said militants had attacked a restaurant “frequented by foreigners”.
Police and security forces have sealed off the area and are trying to negotiate the hostages’ release.
“We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers,” said Benazir Ahmed, chief of the Rapid Action Battalion, Bangladesh’s elite police force.
“Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.”
Police said the gunmen burst into the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe at about 21:20 (13:20 GMT) and opened fire.
The cafe is described as being popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families.
Sumon Reza, a kitchen staffer who escaped the attack, told The Indian Express that as many as nine gunmen stormed the posh restaurant, popular with expats, diplomats and middle class families, at 9:20 pm local time Friday, before taking customers and staffers hostage at gunpoint.
Foreigners are expected to be at the restaurant even as a gun battle continues, but US State Department spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing that all Americans working at the embassy have been accounted for.
“We are aware of reports of what appears to a hostage situation in the Gulshan neighborhood of Dhaka,” he said.
However, he refused to divulge more details, adding that the situation in Dhaka is “very fluid, very live.”
Quotes used in this story came from BBC and CNN.