Several foreigners are said to be among a number of hostages taken by gunmen who attacked a restaurant in the diplomatic quarter of the Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka today. Eight or nine attackers were said to have stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, located in the city’s diplomatic quarter.
One kitchen staffer said that the gunmen were armed with firearms and bombs, entering the bakery at around 9:20pm local time and taking customers and staff hostage at gunpoint.
Bangladesh’s police chief has confirmed that several foreigners are among the hostages. One policeman is reported to have been killed and others wounded by gunfire as officers surrounded the restaurant, located in the Gulshan area of the capital, and a massive firefight erupted.
Police spokesman said: “Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.”
The police chief has said that they plan to start a rescue operation shortly.
Bangladesh’s Daily Star is reporting that heavily armed police in armoured vehicles are preparing to enter the restaurant.
Lori Ann Walsh Imdad, who lives nearby, is reported to have said: “Terrorists broke in and shot the Italian baker and his wife and took about 20 foreigners hostage.”
The US State Department has said the hostage situation is “still fluid”, and the US embassy in Dhaka has urged citizens to shelter in place. A spokesman for the US State Department said it was too early to say who was involved in the hostage situation, but that all Americans working at the US mission in Dhaka had been accounted for.
One Bangladeshi TV station has reported that the gunmen chanted “Allahu Akbar” as they launched their assault.