The Muslim holy month of Ramadan continues in full force, as we are learning of another apparent radical Islam attack. Authorities are reporting gunmen have stormed a popular cafe in the diplomatic area of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. They have taken up to 60 hostages, including what are believed to be many Westerners. Police suspect the attackers are Islamists — one clue being they were shouting “Allahu Akbar” as they attacked.
As reported by the BBC:
Several foreigners are among those being held by eight or nine men in the city’s Gulshan district, they add.
A gun battle between the attackers and police wounded three people, including two officers.
Police and security forces have sealed off the area and are trying to negotiate the hostages’s release.
“Some derailed youths have entered the restaurant and launched the attack,” Benazir Ahmed, chief of Bangladesh’s elite police force, said.“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.”
Local media reported that the gunmen entered the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe and opened fire.The cafe is described as being popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families.
It is not clear who the attackers are, although a police officer told the BBC that Islamists were suspected.
Media reports quoted witnesses as saying that “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is greatest”, was heard as the attack took place.
The U.S. State Department has said all Americans working at the U.S. mission in the area had been accounted for, according to Reuters.
“We have accounted for all Americans working for the chiefof mission authority” in Dhaka, John Kirby, a State Department spokesman said. He called the situation “fluid.” [H/T Fox News]
We’ll keep you updated as more details are available.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]