DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 1 (UPI) — The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s explosive attack on a cafe in Bangladesh that killed two police officers and held dozens of people hostage.
The gunmen are believed to have taken at least 20 hostages at the cafe, which is popular with Westerners in the Gulshan diplomatic zone in the capital of Dhaka. The restaurant is said to be popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families.
Reports of shooting and hostage situation in Gulshan 2, Dhaka. Please shelter in place and monitor news.
— U.S. Embassy Dhaka (@usembassydhaka) July 1, 2016
The scene of the attack is close to the city’s U.S. Embassy, which advised Americans, “Please shelter in place and monitor news.”
A gang of several gunmen entered the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant and opened fire on Friday. Officials said some of the assailants detonated explosives.
Later Friday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which wounded dozens.
“Islamic State commandos attack a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the city of Dhaka in Bangladesh,” Amaq, an information outlet linked to the Islamic State, reported.
Sumon Reza, who works in the kitchen at the cafe, managed to escape and said several armed assailants entered the restaurant and took the chief chef hostage.
“They blasted several crude bombs causing wide-scale panic among everyone. I managed to flee during this confusion,” he said. “They came armed with pistols, swords and bombs.
“They shouted Allah hu Akbar before blasting the bombs.”
High-profile gun attacks are rare in Bangladesh, the BBC reported, but the latest incident follows a series of killings widely blamed on Islamist extremists.