Gunfighting at Dhaka restaurant ends, commandos still inside

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and said 24 people were killed.

People carry an injured man near the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant during an attack by unidentified gunmen in Dhaka’s high-security diplomatic district on 2 July, 2016. Picture: AFP.

DHAKA - Gunfighting at a besieged restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital ended on Saturday and between eight and ten hostages were rescued by commandos who were still inside the building, a police official said.

Gunmen attacked the restaurant in the diplomatic area of Dhaka late on Friday and took about 20 hostages, including foreigners, before police stormed the building to free those stuck inside.

The number of gunmen and hostages still in the restaurant was not clear, Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, a deputy director at the Rapid Action Battalion force, told Reuters.

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 calls 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 are 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."