Dhaka, Bangladesh hostage mistaken for gunman was killed by police

DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 5 (UPI) — One of the hostages who was trapped by gunmen at a Dhaka restaurant on Friday may have been shot dead by police after authorities mistook him for an attacker.

At least 50 people were held hostage when six gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery late Friday in the Bangladeshi capital. At least 20 hostages — mostly foreigners — were killed in the attack.

Saiful Islam Chowkidar, one of the restaurant’s pizza makers, was among six people killed when officers launched an attack to end the nearly 12-hour siege. Two officers were killed.

Five of the seven gunmen who carried out the attack were militants who police previously tried to arrest due to links to international terrorism. One hostage who escaped said the militants conducted a religious questioning by requiring hostages to recite from the Koran. Those unable to do so were tortured, many of them hacked to death with knives and swords.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that citizens from “crusader countries” would not be safe “as long as their aircraft are killing Muslims,” the group said in a statement. The group — also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL, posted pictures of five smiling fighters it said were involved in the attack standing in front of a black flag.

The IS claims of responsibility have not been independently confirmed.

Some experts are doubting the terror group’s involvement. A U.S. official told CNN al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent was most likely involved.

The Holey Artisan Bakery is a popular tourist destination near the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka.

Yvette C. Hammett contributed to this report.

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