Seven Japanese nationals and three students from American universities were among 20 dead after a 12-hour-long siege ended the hostage situation in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On Friday night, seven gunmen took over the Holey Artisan Bakery located in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone, taking dozens hostage. All of the gunmen were Bangladeshi, and five were militants authorities previously tried to arrest, Police Inspector General Shahidul Hoque told CNN. The men were armed with assault weapons and explosives.
The siege ended early Saturday morning when over 100 Bangladeshi commandos stormed the restaurant, the Guardian reported. Commandos were able to rescue 13 hostages, but at least 20 were found dead – mostly foreigners.
Found among the victims were seven Japanese, nine Italians, a Bangladeshi woman, and three students attending American universities who had gone to high school together in Dhaka, according to the New York Times. Two police officers were also killed during the firefight.
“It is extremely regrettable that precious lives were lost in a savage and heinous terrorist attack,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters after the bodies of the deceased were returned home. “I felt deep sorrow and strong indignation.”
Six of the attackers were killed during the siege, and one man was captured alive, CNBC reported.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, though it has not yet been officially confirmed. Sajjan Gohel, international security director of the Asia Pacific Foundation, told CNN that the attack was carried out by home-grown militants, suggesting the involvement of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a local militant group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS.