On Friday evening, when gunmen burst into the Holey Artisan Bakery, in Dhaka, the restaurant was quiet. Few of its regular Muslim customers were dining out, having just broken their Ramadan fasts at home, so the tables were occupied largely by expatriates: a group of Italians out for dinner, another cluster of Japanese, Sri Lankans, and Indians. This was a crowd typical of Gulshan, a neighborhood of diplomats and corporate executives, which, with its tranquil streets and watercolor lake views, feels a long way from the traffic-choked bedlam elsewhere in Dhaka. Storming the Holey Artisan Bakery was, in other words, a result of diligent homework. It wasn’t until the next morning, ten hours later, that Bangladesh Army commandos broke the siege, killing six attackers and arresting a seventh. Most of the twenty slain victims were foreigners; one, a sophomore at Emory University, was an American of Bangladeshi origin. Thirteen people, patrons as well as staff, survived. Through the long, terrible night, one eyewitness said, the attackers tested the hostages, torturing or murdering them if they couldn’t recite verses from the Koran.
“We will not kill Bengalis,” one of the gunmen said, according to the Times. “We will only kill foreigners.”