A siege in a Bangladesh café in the capital city of Dhaka has come to an end after Bangladeshi security forces stormed the eatery, drawing a close to a horrific 10 hour stand off.
The siege of the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka by militants has led to the loss of 24 lives including two policemen, injuring many others.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the siege that took about 35 people hostage — 20 of whom were foreign nationals. Six terrorists were killed in the operation and one caught for questioning.
The siege in Bangladesh resulted in soldiers and security personnel cordoning off the Gulshan neighborhood in which the café is situated, in order to rescue the people held hostage inside it. In a wealthy area with many diplomatic offices, the café was a huge favorite of foreigners.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, announced that 13 hostages have been rescued and praised the security forces which sustained casualties while countering the siege. She also lashed out against the radical Islamic terrorists, as reported by The Financial Express.
“What kind of humans are these, who are killing other humans during Ramzan?”
The attack was quickly claimed by the ISIS as their own. According to SITE Intelligence Agency — a website that tracks extremist terrorist behavior across the globe — the Amaq news agency of the IS confirmed that “Islamic State commandos” carried out the siege and killed “twenty people.”
Lt. Col. Tuhin Mohammad Masud, the commanding officer of Bangladesh commandos, spoke to The Associated Press about the main building having been cleared, but the operation following the siege still being afoot.
Quoting Masud, CBS News reported that rescued hostages include an injured Japanese citizen and two Sri Lankans, according to Masud.
Bangladesh news outlet BDnews24 reported that there were seven Italians among the hostages.
Other local media channels reported that an Argentine and two Bangladesh nationals were also rescued, but details about their condition were not immediately available.
The country’s bloggers, LGBTQ activists and free-thinkers have been attacked ruthlessly, often with machetes, and their bloody corpses have been fresh on the Bangladeshis minds when the siege happened.
Earlier on Friday, in another expression of religious intolerance in a peace-loving country, a Hindu priest named Syamanando Das, was hacked to death 300 kilometers southwest of Dhaka. USA Today reported that according to SITE Intelligence Agency, this specific attack, too, has been claimed by the ISIS.
Indian news outlet Firstpost reported that last month, a Hindu priest, 70-year-old Ananda Gopal Ganguly, was hacked to death in the same district of Jheniadah, making the total tally of deaths in Bangladesh since April of this year, more than a dozen.
The siege in Bangladesh comes as a response to the government’s crackdown on IS and Al Quaeda terrorists. Ali Riaz, a professor of political science at Illinois State University and an expert on South Asian politics, spoke to The New York Times, attempting to identify the root of the siege.
“What we’re witnessing can’t be small groups coming together. It is clearly a very coordinated attack. If this doesn’t convince them to come out of denial, then I don’t know what will.”
The siege in Bangladesh may have drawn to a ghastly close, but it has brought a country that thrives of culture and understanding to yet another halt.
[Photo by AP Images]