Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Gunmen stormed a popular cafe in the capital Dhaka on Friday evening, taking a number of hostages, officials said.
Several foreigners are among those being held by maximum eight men in the city’s diplomatic area, they added.
The incident, that began around 8:45pm at Holey Artisan Bakery, a Spanish restaurant, on Road 79, has caused to injuries of at least 30 people including police officials.
Two police officers were killed as law enforcers try to smoke out gunmen who took a number of people, including foreigners, hostage inside the restaurant in the city’s diplomatic area, according to reports.
Police and security forces have sealed off the area and are trying to negotiate the hostages’ release.
“We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers,” said Benazir Ahmed, chief of the Rapid Action Battalion, Bangladesh’s elite police force. “Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.”
Last reported around 12:30am (local time), police were trying to establish communication for a negotiation. However, no demands have been placed from the criminal group so far.
Monirul Islam, additional commissioner of Bangladesh’s counter terrorism unit, told The Daily Star, a local newspaper, that some people were being held hostage at gunpoint inside the restaurant.
The gunshots erupted at the restaurant at about 9:15pm (local time) after police rushed in on information, according to a police official.
He said the criminals opened fire and threw grenades at the law enforcers from inside the restaurant, leaving many injured.
Sumon Reza, a employee of the restaurant, said he was on the 1st floor when the gunmen barged into the restaurant.
He said at least 20 foreigners were inside the eatery when the criminals, maximum eight in number, entered it.
Mr. Reza also said he along with 12-15 other employees went to the rooftop and climbed down outside through pipes.