20 hostages killed execution-style in Dhaka cafe attack

DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 2 (UPI) — Gunmen killed 20 hostages and two police officers in an attack and standoff at a popular cafe in Dhaka Friday.

Brig. General Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune all of the victims were killed execution-style at the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe. Officials rescued 13 hostages, including an American citizen, a Japanese national and a couple from Sri Lanka.

Six of the gunmen were killed and one was captured after the attack, authorities said.

CNN reported the bodies of the victims, from Italy, India and other countries, were discovered more than ten hours after the end of the standoff. Many had been killed with sharp weapons, officials said.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on the cafe that is popular with Westerners and located near the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. Department of State spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that no injuries were reported among embassy personnel and expressed support for the people of Bangladesh.

“We join with the people of Bangladesh in expressing our outrage at this brutal act of terrorism and offer our condolences to the friends and families of the victims, including Bangladeshi law enforcement officials who have been killed or injured responding to the attack,” he said.

Kirby said the U.S. is working with the government of Bangladesh to assess the information including the connection to the IS, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.

“We are in ongoing contact with the government of Bangladesh as the situation continues to unfold,” he said. “We have offered our assistance in their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for these attacks and to combat terrorism and violent extremism.”

The White House released a statement Saturday offering assistance to Bangladesh and condemning the attack. At least two students from American universities were among the dead. Abinta Kabir, from Miami, and Faraaz Hossain, from Dhaka, attended Emory University in Atlanta.

“This heinous attack resulted in as many as 20 deaths, including an American citizen, Bangladeshi law enforcement personnel, and citizens of several other nations,” the statement said. “Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those wounded. This is a despicable act of terrorism, and the United States stands with Bangladesh and the international community in our resolve to confront terrorism wherever it occurs.”

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