Dhaka siege over… 13 people rescued, 6 gunmen killed

RSTV Bureau
Bangladeshi soldiers and security personnel sit on top of armored vehicles as they cordon off an area near a restaurant popular with foreigners after heavily armed militants took dozens of hostages, in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, July 2, 2016. Bangladesh forces stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka's Gulshan area Saturday morning, triggering explosions and finding bodies lying in pools of blood. Photo-PTI

Bangladeshi soldiers and security personnel sit on top of armored vehicles as they cordon off an area near a restaurant popular with foreigners after heavily armed militants took dozens of hostages, in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, July 2, 2016. Bangladesh forces stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area Saturday morning, triggering explosions and finding bodies lying in pools of blood.
Photo-PTI

The worst ever hostage crisis in Bangladesh capital Dhaka came to an end on Saturday morning after Bangladeshi forces killed 6 militants inside an upscale restraint. Security forces have rescued at least 13 civilians during their commando operation which continued for 10 hours.

“Bangladesh hostage crisis ends after a commando operation. A total of 13 people were rescued from the restaurant,” said a senior police official.

Security forces launched an offensive to end the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic zone to neutralise the terror group.  Tuhin Mohammad Masud, a commander of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) which stormed the cafe, said there had been a number of casualties, including six hostage-takers.

“We have gunned down six of the terrorists,” Masud told reporters in Dhaka.

As per Dhaka Metropolitan Police Indian, authorities have identified Sri Lankan and Japanese nationals. At least five bodies were recovered during the police raids which have not been identified yet.

Speaking to press after police declared the closure of the restaurant seize Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed to do everything to “uproot the militants and violent extremists” from Bangladesh.

“It was an extremely heinous act. What kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion,” the Bangla PM said in a televised speech

PM Hasina said that terrorists owing allegiance to IS ‘defied the call of Ramadan’s tarabi (special evening) prayers and went to kill people.

“The way they killed people is intolerable. They don’t have any religion. Terrorism is their religion,” said Hasina.

Bangladeshi security personnel cordon off the area after a group of gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, July 1, 2016. A group of gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital on Friday night, taking hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces, according to a restaurant staff member and local media reports. Photo-PTI

Bangladeshi security personnel cordon off the area after a group of gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, July 1, 2016. A group of gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital on Friday night, taking hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces, according to a restaurant staff member and local media reports.
Photo-PTI

Around 9.30 PM on Friday night, hundreds of Bangladesh Army, Navy and the paramilitary Border Guards Bangladesh stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in diplomatic quarter of Dhaka after nine terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar” barged into cafe and opened indiscriminate fire at around 9:20 PM on July 1. Soon, terrorist took 20 people including diplomats and expatriates to hostage.

Nearly four hours after the hostage crisis unfolded, Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack through a news agency, it also claimed that 20 people had been killed in the attack.

“Several armed men entered the restaurant around 8:45 PM and took the chief chef hostage. They set off several crude bombs triggering panic,” a kitchen staff of the restaurant, who managed to escape told media on Friday night.

At least two senior officers lost their lives and 40 people were left injured on the Friday night gun battle. Police evacuated people living near cafe during midnight to expand the operation and rescue hostages.

Army men in armoured personnel carriers (APCs) had moved in with commandos. Over 1,000 rounds of gunshots were fired and almost 100 blasts were heard in the first half an hour of the raid. Fire-fighters and medical teams were rushed to the spot on Saturday morning to handle the post rescue eventualities.

Two Indians, Five Japanese, seven Italians are among the 20 people are among the hostages present in inside the restaurant.

The attack comes after a spate of murders of secular bloggers, gay activists, academics and members of religious minorities, blamed on Islamist militants.  Though there have been a number of killings focusing on academics, activists and member of religious minorities, attacks on foreigners are rare.