Culture

Gunmen Storm A Diplomatic Quarter Of Dhaka In A Hostage Situation

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This photo shows Bangladeshi security standing guard after a volatile situation took root in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. Gunmen took at least 20 hostages in a diplomatic area of the city, and the incident is ongoing at Holey Artisan Bakery, which CNN notes is a popular gathering spot for expatriates. The attackers have reportedly thrown grenades at authorities, who are standing by with a bomb disposal unit while attempting to negotiate for release of the hostages. At least one policeman has been killed during this situation, and this CBS video clip reports nine gunmen on the scene.

More information comes from the Daily Star, which ups the number of hostages to 30, some of whom may have been shot already. The chief chef of the restaurant is among those being held captive, and one kitchen staffer, Sumon Reza, reported what he witnessed:

“They blasted several crude bombs causing wide-scale panic among everyone. I managed to flee during this confusion. They came armed with pistols, swords and bombs. They shouted Allahu Akbar before blasting the bombs.

“Allahu Akbar” translates to “God is greatest” in Arabic and has been co-opted by extremists during terrorist acts. However, Bangladeshi authorities have denied that ISIS or its sympathizers have set up shop in the country. And Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion chief, Benazir Ahmed, issued a statement: “We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers. Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.”

Reporter Shaheen Mollah posted a Facebook photo of the developing situation.

UPDATE: CNN reports that two police officers have died from gunshot wounds, and forty people have been wounded from flying shrapnel.

(Via Daily Star, The Atlantic & CNN)

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