2 U.S. college students killed in Bangladesh terror attack
DHAKA, Bangladesh — The Latest on the attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone in the Bangladeshi capital (all times local):
Emory University says two of its students were among 20 victims of an extremist attack in Bangladesh.
University president James Wagner said in emails to employees that Faraaz Hossain and Abinta Kabir were killed after militants took hostages at a restaurant in the South Asian nation’s capital of Dhaka and engaged in a 10-hour standoff ending Saturday morning.
Kabir was a student at the school’s campus in Oxford. She was visiting family and friends in Bangladesh when she was taken hostage and killed. Hossain had completed his second year at Oxford and was headed to the business school in the fall.
School spokeswoman Elaine Justice says Kabir was from Miami, Florida, and Hossain was from Dhaka.
Italy’s foreign minister says an Italian citizen is unaccounted for after the Dhaka restaurant attack.
Minister Paolo Gentiloni says Saturday that the person isn’t among the bodies identified in a military morgue in Dhaka and isn’t among the 20 victims.
Gentiloni says it is possible the person, whom he didn’t identify by name or age, is among the injured or just can’t be located.
The others confirmed dead include nine Italians, seven Japanese and one Indian.
A Japanese government spokesman says that seven Japanese are among those killed in the overnight siege of a restaurant in Bangladesh.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Saturday night in Tokyo that five men and two women who were Japanese had died in the attack.
They were among eight Japanese nationals eating at the restaurant. One man who had been shot was rescued, and being treated at a hospital.
The Japanese were consultants working on a Japanese government aid project in Dhaka.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says it received confirmation from Bangladesh government officials that no South Koreans were among the 20 hostages killed during an attack at a Dhaka restaurant.
The ministry also said there were no South Koreans among the injured. Italy has confirmed nine Italians died.
An Indian government official previously said South Koreans were among the dead, as well as Japanese and one Indian woman.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni says the bodies of nine Italians have been identified among the dead in the Dhaka restaurant attack.
Gentiloni told reporters Saturday that there was another, unidentified body in the military morgue of Bangladesh but its nationality hasn’t been determined. Italian news reports had said about 10 Italians were inside the restaurant when it was attacked by militants on Friday night.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says officials from the country’s embassy in Bangladesh are in contact with local government authorities to confirm whether there were any South Koreans among the 20 hostages killed during an attack at a Dhaka restaurant.
The ministry earlier said no South Koreans were among the injured.
An Indian government official said Saturday evening that South Koreans were among the dead, as well as an Indian woman and other foreigners. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the crisis and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The rescued Japanese hostage in Bangladesh has been identified as an employee for a Tokyo consulting firm that specializes in construction projects.
Japanese broadcaster NHK, citing an unnamed government official, said Saturday that he is Tamaoki Watanabe and works for Almec Corp.
He is among eight Japanese who were at the restaurant when it was attacked by militants on Friday night. The fates of the other seven have not been confirmed, but Japanese officials have called the situation “dire.”
NHK reported that Almec is part of a Japanese development agency project to develop an urban transportation system in Dhaka.
Italian media have identified one of the victims in the Dhaka restaurant attack as a 47-year-old manager from northeastern Italy. The Italian agency ANSA says the man, who was married and the father of 3-year-old twin girls, was in Bangladesh for work. ANSA said word spread Saturday in the town of Feletto Umberto, near Udine, that the man was among the 20 who died in the attack by extremists.
Bangladesh authorities have said 20 hostages died in the 10-hour siege that paramilitary forces ended Saturday morning. Many were foreigners.
Premier Matteo Renzi said earlier no details were being made public until families of the victims are officially notified. An Italian government plane was headed to Bangladesh, but Renzi didn’t say if any victims’ relatives might be aboard or if the aircraft was going to fly back bodies to Italy.
Emory University says in an email to employees that one of the Dhaka restaurant attack victims was Abinta Kabir, a student at the school’s campus in Oxford, Georgia. She was visiting family and friends in Bangladesh when she was taken hostage and killed.
University president James Wagner said that Abinta’s mother, with whom he had had contact, was in “unspeakable pain” upon receiving news of the death of her daughter.
“Please, as you are inclined, direct your kindest thoughts and sincerest prayers in her behalf and that of her family,” Wagner wrote.
Pope Francis is condemning the Dhaka restaurant attack as an “offense against God and humanity.”
The Vatican said Saturday that Francis sent a condolence message, describing himself as “deeply saddened by the senseless violence perpetrated against innocent victims in Dhaka.”
Bangladeshi authorities say 20 hostages were killed by the extremists who began the attack Friday night. Paramilitary forces ended the standoff Saturday morning, killing six of the attackers.
Francis prayed for the dead, and assured “the grieving families and the wounded.”
An Indian government source who was not authorized to discuss details of the crisis said on condition of anonymity that the 20 hostages killed during the attack in the Bangladeshi capital included Italians, Japanese, South Koreans, Bangladeshis and one Indian.
The source said seven Bangladeshis and one Indian had been among the 13 rescued when commandos stormed the restaurant and killed six attackers. One attacker was taken alive and was being interrogated, the source said.
Some were in a hospital being treated for injuries, including at least two Sri Lankans, a Japanese and an Italian.
Two Bangladeshi police officers also died of wounds received Friday night when the hostage crisis began.
Italy’s premier says Italians are among the victims of the Dhaka attack, but won’t say how many or give any other details until the victims’ families have been notified.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said a government plane was on its way to the Bangladeshi capital. He told reporters in Rome on Saturday that “we followed the events” in Dhaka “all night hoping for a different outcome.”
One Italian who managed to escape the attack was earlier quoted as saying there had been 10 or 11 Italians seated at two tables when the attack began on Friday night in the diplomatic quarter of Dhaka.
“I was seated with my wife and a customer, at the other (there were) seven, eight persons,” Gianni Boschetti told the Italian news agency ANSA, without giving any details about the fate of his wife or the others. Earlier, Italian radio reports said an Italian cook had escaped unharmed, but it was not immediately clear if Boschetti might be the cook.
Renzi said the “Italians are hit, but not bent” by the “folly’” of radical extremism.
The head of Japan’s development agency has expressed his strong indignation toward the attackers in the Bangladesh restaurant attack, saying the Japanese taken hostage were working hard for the development of the South Asian country.
One Japanese hostage has been hospitalized, and the fate of seven others is unknown. They were outside consultants working for Japan’s development agency on an infrastructure project.
Bangladesh authorities say 20 hostages were killed but have not identified them.
Japan International Cooperation Agency President Shinichi Kitaoka said Saturday evening in Tokyo that that the restaurant was believed to be in a safe area, though it is also could have been a soft target for militants.
He said his agency would strengthen security precautions while continuing to contribute to the development of Bangladesh.
India’s foreign minister says an Indian girl was among the 20 hostages killed in the attack on a restaurant in Dhaka.
Sushma Swaraj said in a message from her Twitter account that she is “extremely pained to share that the terrorists have killed Tarushi, an Indian girl who was taken hostage in the terror attack in Dhaka.”
She said has spoken with the girl’s father and “conveyed her deepest condolences.”
The army has said 20 hostages were killed in the attack, but it has not disclosed their nationalities.
Bangladesh paramilitary troops mounted a rescue operation Saturday morning, about 10 hours after the hostage crisis began in the diplomatic quarter of the capital.
1:15 p.m., Dhaka
A top Bangladesh military official says 20 hostages were killed in the attack on a Dhaka restaurant where heavily armed militants held dozens of people hostage in a 10-hour standoff.
Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury said six of the attackers were killed in the rescue operations early Saturday. Thirteen captives, including some foreigners, were rescued.
Two police officers were killed when the attackers stormed the popular restaurant and opened fire Friday night.
Chowdhury did not disclose the identities of the hostages.
The paramilitary troops who mounted the rescue operations recovered explosive devices and sharp weapons from the scene, he said.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
12:45 p.m., Dhaka
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has condemned the Dhaka restaurant attack by militants who took dozens hostage and vows to fight what she calls terrorist attacks that have rattled Bangladesh.
Hasina also said that security officials arrested one of the militants. Six others were killed, 13 hostage rescued while seven Japanese are unaccounted for.
Hasina says: “Because of the effort of the joint force, the terrorists could not flee.”
She vowed to fight terrorist attacks in the country and urged people to come forward.
She says: “Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act. They do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism.”
12 noon, Tokyo
A Japanese government spokesman says a Japanese hostage has been rescued but seven others unaccounted for in the restaurant attack in Bangladesh.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said Saturday that the eight were together at the restaurant during the attack.
Hagiuda says the Japanese man who was rescued was shot and is still being treated. He declined to give specifics about the hostage’s condition but said he is able to talk.
He says the eight people were from different companies involved in the same project led by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
11:35 a.m., Bangkok
The owner of the Bangladeshi restaurant at the center of the bloody hostage-taking says he wasn’t able to communicate with his staff.
Nasirul Alam Porag was in Bangkok in Saturday when news reached him that militants took dozens of hostages at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area, a diplomatic zone. Ten hours later, security forces stormed the restaurant, killing at least six of the militants and rescuing 13 people. Two police were killed in an earlier gunbattle and 26 people wounded.
Porag told The Associated Press: “Up until five minutes ago I didn’t know anything. There is no one on the ground we can communicate with, not even the staff.”
He said the restaurant employs about 50 staff but 20 were present at the time of the attack.
It opened two years ago, and he is one of three owners. They decided to open a new restaurant in Bangkok, which he is managing.
10:35 a.m., Dhaka
The commanding officer of Bangladeshi commandos says at least six of the militants have been killed and 13 hostages rescued after security forces cleared the main restaurant building at the end of the 10-hour standoff.
Lt. Col. Tuhin Mohammad Masud told The Associated Press that some militants were captured.
He says: “We have gunned down at least six terrorists and the main building is cleared but the operation is still going on.”
About 35 people were taken hostage, including about 20 foreigners, when gunmen stormed the Dhaka restaurant on Friday night.
Masud says the rescued include a Japanese, who was injured, and two Sri Lankans.
He says there are casualties among other hostages, but did not provide details.
9:30 a.m., Dhaka and Tokyo
The sound of two big explosions has been heard from inside the Dhaka restaurant where security forces battled militants holding dozens of hostages, and a police official says five bodies were seen lying in pools of blood.
Security forces stormed the restaurant early Saturday to end the 10-hour standoff with militants.
In Tokyo, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda says 12 people were rescued in the raid, including two foreigners, but he couldn’t say if they were Japanese.
About 35 people were taken hostage, including about 20 foreigners.
8:20 a.m., Dhaka
Gunshots and explosions are heard as Bangladesh security forces are moving to end the 10-hour standoff with militants who stormed a Dhaka upscale restaurant and took dozens of people hostage.
Local TV stations reported that the operation began at 7:40 a.m.
Army personnel with automatic weapons have joined the operation.
At least seven armored vehicles are being used while several ambulances are on standby.
Local media reported that an Argentine and two Bangladeshis were rescued from the restaurant early Saturday, but details about their condition were not immediately available.
Journalists are not allowed near the scene.
A news agency affiliated with the Islamic Group has posted photos purportedly showing the bodies of hostages lying in pools of blood in the Dhaka restaurant where militants were holding about 35 people.
The authenticity of the pictures, carried by the Amaq news agency and monitored by the SITE Intelligence Group, could not be independently confirmed.
The same report says 24 people have been killed and 40 wounded, including foreigners. That figure could not be confirmed either.
Police say two officers were killed and 26 people wounded in a gunbattle with the militants as the standoff continues into Saturday morning.
Japan says that Japanese citizens may be among the hostages being held in Bangladesh.
The top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said at a hastily called news conference Saturday morning in Tokyo that the government is trying to confirm the information.
He says the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka set up a response center at 2:45 a.m.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that saving lives is the top priority.
Heavily armed militants struck at the heart of Bangladesh’s diplomatic zone on Friday night, taking at least 35 people — including about 20 foreigners — hostage in a restaurant. Two police were killed and at least 26 people wounded in a gunbattle.
5:50 a.m. , Dhaka
A member of Bangladeshi security forces say authorities are planning to launch a coordinated response at dawn Saturday to end the hostage-taking by militants inside a Dhaka restaurant popular with foreigners.
According to internet service provider Aamr, authorities also ordered internet services to be blocked across the country.
A member of the Rapid Action Battalion, identifying himself as Lt. Col. Masood, told Indian TV that he attackers “have not responded to authorities’ calls for negotiation.”
He says a police cordon would prevent any of the attackers from escaping.
The U.S. State Department says it has seen the claims of responsibility by the Islamic State group for the hostage-taking in Dhaka but cannot yet confirm it.
A White House official said President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his chief counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco. The president asked to be kept informed as the situation develops, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the president’s meetings.
State Department spokesman John Kirby says the U.S. is in contact with the Bangladesh government and has offered its assistance to bring those responsible to justice.
He said all official American personnel are accounted for with no injuries reported, and the department is working with local authorities to determine if any U.S. citizens and locally-employed staff were affected.
Police say two officers have been killed by attackers who stormed a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, taking dozens of hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces.
Hospital authorities said another 25 officers and one civilian were being treated for injuries, including 10 people listed in critical condition. The injuries include bullet wounds and broken bones, they said.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency said the attack on the restaurant was carried out by “Islamic State commandos,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activity. Bangladesh authorities did not immediately respond to the claim.
As many as nine gunmen attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area on Friday night.