Islamist gunmen have killed at least 20 people, following a police raid to end a hostage situation at a cafe in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.
Islamic gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” attacked an upscale cafe in the Bangladeshi capital, killing 20 people inside, before police stormed the building on Saturday and rescued 13 hostages, officials said.
The attack, claimed by Islamic State, marks a major escalation in a campaign by Islamic militants over the past 18 months that had targeted mostly individuals advocating a secular or liberal approach in mostly Muslim Bangladesh.
Six gunmen were killed during the police operation and one was captured, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a TV broadcast.
“Most of (the hostages) were killed mercilessly by sharp weapons last night,” before the siege began, Army Brigadier General Naim Asraf Chowdhury said.
The army concluded an operation to clear the cafe after a 12-hour siege that began when gunmen stormed the restaurant on Friday night. Two police were killed in the initial assault.
The 13 hostages that were rescued included one Japanese and two Sri Lankans, Chowdhury told a news conference. Police said earlier the gunmen were holding about 20 hostages.