Bangladesh under terror as hostages held, 2 police officers killed

As many as 20 hostages have been held by nine armed terrorists at a Dhaka, Bangladesh, cafe since Friday evening. At least two are dead, and about 40 are thought to be injured.

Hostages are both foreign and domestic, officials said. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but their claims have not yet been confirmed.

Officials are trying to negotiate an end to the situation.

The men entered the Holey Artisan Bakery, located in a diplomatic zone, with guns, swords and explosives, injuring 27 police personnel and killing two by gunshot, according to Bangladeshi police.

According to Reuters, the Italian Foreign Ministry said among those taken were seven Italian nationals. Indian and Japanese nationals are also thought to be held hostage.

Police denied claims by ISIS, which posted photos of dead foreigners, that at least 20 had been killed, the Guardian reported.

“These people came and opened fire,” Mohammad Jasimuddin, who works in the cafe’s kitchen, told the Guardian. “I heard them screaming Allah Akbar [God is great] and firing shots. We thought they’d leave in 15 to 20 minutes, instead they went upstairs to the second floor [that was] under construction. They were firing from there.”

Jasimuddin said he and other employees escaped by jumping over barbed wire fences, and that about 50 to 60 staff, as well as 25 to 30 customers, had been inside.