13 hostages rescued from Dhaka cafe - Bangladesh PM

At least 20 people were held hostage by terrorists linked to Islamic State.

Bangladeshi army soldiers patrol a street during a rescue operation as gunmen take position in a restaurant in the Dhaka’s high-security diplomatic district on 2 July, 2016 where several people including foreigners are believed to be trapped. Picture: AFP.

DHAKA - The Bangladesh Prime Minister says 13 hostages were rescued from Dhaka a cafe, while six gunmen were killed and one was captured alive.

At least 20 people were held hostage by terrorists linked to Islamic State.

Japan's government says eight of its nationals were among those held hostage for over 12 hours..

It's believed between six and 10 gunmen stormed the restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital and security forces are busy searching the surrounding areas for more attackers.

Earlier, speaking from his house in the area, a witness said he could hear gunfire and that the situation "looked quite bad".

A series of deadly attacks, mostly using machetes rather than guns, have targeted bloggers, atheists and religious minorities in Bangladesh in recent months.

The report called it an apparent terrorist attack, but that has not been confirmed by authorities.

At the same time, Islamic State posted photos on Saturday it claimed to be of foreigners killed in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka, where gunmen were holding hostages as police laid siege to the building, news agency Amaq said.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and said 24 people were killed. Bangladesh police have said two police officers were killed and at least 20 people wounded.

The group claims to still be holding a number of hostages inside the cafe.

Italian and Indian nationals were among the hostages, said a duty officer at the Rapid Action Battalion's (RAB) control room.

Meanwhile, several members of Cape Town's Muslim community have spoken out against the recent spate of terror attacks across the globe.

Speaking at the annual Al-Quds demonstrations in the Mother City yesterday, marchers called for peace and an end to oppression across the world.

Demonstrators also called on the South African government to bolster interventions regarding the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

"The global call for the march in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and we as South African should identify a lot with them and their case is much worse. It seems like the whole world is turning a blind to their struggle."

Additional information by Reuters