Four killed, 30 injured including 24 cops; 60 made hostage
Dhaka—A group of as many as nine gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital on Friday night, taking upto 60 hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces, according to a restaurant staff member and local media reports.
According to unconfirmed reports four people have been killed in exchange of fire between the gunmen and seurirt forces and so far, more than 24 police members have susteained injuries.
Several foreigners are among a number of people taken hostage in a Dhaka restaurant, the chief of Bangladesh’s special police force said.
Benjir Ahmed told reporters police were trying to ensure the hostages’ safety in a peaceful manner.
A police official, who was injured in the intermittent firing by the gunmen from inside the Holey Artisan Bakery, succumbed to his injuries, reports PTI.
“We are trying to negotiate with the gunmen holed up inside the restaurant,” Rapid Action Battalion chief Benazir Ahmed told newsmen.
Sumon Reza, a kitchen staffer who escaped the attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area, told reporters that the attackers were armed with firearms and bombs as they entered the restaurant around 9:20 pm (local time) and took customers and staffers hostage at gunpoint.
Jamuna Television, quoting Reza, said the attackers chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) as they launched the attack.
A huge contingent of security guards cordoned off the area around the restaurant, trading gunfire with the attackers who set off bombs and exchanged gunfire with the security officials.
Benazir Ahmed, director general of the elite anti-crime force Rapid Action Battalion or RAB, told reporters at 11:20 pm (Dhaka time) that security forces were working to save the lives of the people trapped inside. Several foreigners are believed to be among the hostages inside the restaurant.
“Some derailed youths have entered the restaurant and launched the attack. We have talked to some of the people who fled the restaurant after the attack. We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers, we want to listen to them about what they want,” Ahmed said.
“Some of our people have been injured. Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside,” he said.
The US Embassy in Dhaka said on its Twitter feed there were “reports of shooting and hostage situation n”.
The US St ate Department said it was too early to say who was involved in a hostage situation at a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka or what the motivation might be, but it confirmed that all Americans working at the US mission there had been accounted for.
“We have accounted for all Americans working for the chief of mission authority” in Dhaka, State Department spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing. He said the situation was “very fluid, very live.”—Agencies