A 13-hour hostage crisis in the heart of Dhaka was brought to an end after commandos stormed a restaurant popular with expatriates that had been seized by Islamist gunmen on Friday night.
Many of the 20 people killed by the group of seven militants in the Holey Artisan Bakery were foreigners who were deliberately singled out and hacked to death with knives. Two policemen also died during the initial stages of the assault. Six of the gunmen were killed and a further suspect was arrested and taken into custody. The attack was claimed by Islamic State, which said the cafe was attacked because it was frequented by foreigners. A further 26 people were wounded by the militants’ gunfire.
The scale and ambition of the assault marks a troubling new development for a country increasingly racked by murders of liberal bloggers and secularists by violent Islamists. The restaurant opened two years ago in the heavily secured Gulshan diplomatic neighbourhood of the Bangladeshi capital, which is home to several embassies and an international school. With its large garden and Spanish cuisine it is a popular haunt for expats and well-heeled Bangladeshis.