Police in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka surround a cafe where eight to nine gunmen have taken multiple hostages. The Holey Artisan Bakery cafe, visited often by foreigners in the diplomatic quarter of Gulshan, was attacked on Friday night. The US Department of State says it is monitoring the situation, and that all American citizens under the authority of the diplomatic chief of mission in Dhaka have been accounted for.
Gunmen ‘shouting “Allahu Akbar”‘ storm Bangladesh restaurant popular with Westerners and ‘take several hostages’
Reports say 20 people are being held hostage in the upscale Gulshan area of Dhaka with at least one policeman reportedly dead.
Terrorist attack in Bangladesh’s capital should surprise no one
The details remain murky. On Friday night, assailants assaulted a restaurant in an upscale neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s teeming capital. They fired weapons and hurled grenades. Initial reports suggest that six to eight gunmen were inside the establishment, detaining about 20 hostages. At least one police officer was slain during the standoff with the militants.
Officers of the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite paramilitary police unit, filled the streets of Gulshan, a leafy district that’s home to diplomats as well as the country’s elite. The restaurant under siege is a bakery in the daytime and a Spanish eatery at night.
Speculation immediately fell on extremist groups believed to be operating in Bangladesh, including outfits affiliated both with al-Qaeda’s South Asian wing and the Islamic State. In the past two years, horrific attacks by self-declared Islamists have targeted Hindus, intellectuals, secularist writers and bloggers.