Dhaka – Bangladeshi commandos have cleared a restaurant in capital Dhaka where several people including foreigners were held hostage by gunmen for more than 10 hours, officials said Saturday.
The commandos killed at least five terrorists as they launched the offensive against the terrorists at the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic district, officer Hafizur Rahman said.
He said at least 12 people, including foreign nationals, were rescued alive from the restaurant. They were sent to Combined Military Hospital for treatment.
The officer, however, could not give the exact figure of the casualties.
Five bodies of the attackers were seen lying on the floor at the restaurant, he said adding that the military authorities will organised a news briefing in the afternoon on the operations.
Five hostages had escaped during the shootout, when two loud explosions were also heard, another Dhaka Metropolitan Police officer said.
Reports said there were nearly two dozen hostages held by about eight to 10 attackers that took the cafe Friday night. Two police officers were killed and dozens others were injured when the terrorists locked in a gunfight after they stormed into the cafe.
The gunmen entered the restaurant at about 8:45 pm as customers were eating.
Foreign hostages including several Italians and one or more Japanese citizens, diplomats said.
The Islamic State organization reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Other reports said American officials suspected al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, which the US declared a terrorist group the day before.
The hostage crisis came weeks after police attested more than 12,000 people, including 200 suspected militants, during a weeklong crackdown on militants.
Bangladesh has been denying presence of al-Qaeda or IS militants in the Muslin-majority country despite the outfits claimed responsibility of killing more than 40 people in attacks since 2013.