07/02/2016, 13.25
BANGLADESH
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Islamist attack against Dhaka café frequented by foreigners leaves eight dead, scores wounded

by Sumon Corraya

The Rapid Action Battalion ends 12-hour hostage situation. The nationality of the victims has not yet been released. For Prime Minister Hasina, this is not Islam. Tensions remain high in the capital.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Bangladeshi special forces stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery café 12 hours after it was seized by gunmen in an operation that brought Dhaka to a standstill.

Eight are believed to be dead, six attackers and two police officers. Scores of hostages have been freed.

Located in Gulshan district, the restaurant was popular among foreigners employed at foreign embassies.

The attack began yesterday at around 9 pm. Eight or nine gunmen shot their way into the café shouting “Allah is great”. Tens of customers were taken hostage. Unconfirmed reports suggest that many were Italians and Japanese.

A police officer, who requested anonymity, said that he had seen the bodies of "some foreigners".

Apparently, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for killing 24 “infidels” and wounding another 40. But Bangladeshi police didn’t answer about this information.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said 13 hostages had been freed and that six attackers had been shot dead. One of the gunmen was in custody.

"It was an extremely heinous act," she said in a televised statement. "What kind of Muslims are these people? They don't have any religion.”

"My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh."

Yesterday was the last Friday of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of purification. A campaign seems to be underway against the country’s small non-Muslim population.

In recent months, ordinary people as well as ChristiansMuslimsHindus, and the wife of Chittagong police chief, have become the victims of violence.

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