Bangladeshi commandoes have rescued 14 hostages and shot dead six gunmen, ending an hours of siege at a cafe in Dhaka, army Brig. Gen. Mujibur Rahman said Saturday.
Cable News Network (CNN) also quoted the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Jasim Uddin confirming that the police have rescued some people, but did did not say how many.
However, at a news conference in Japan, officials said 12 people had been rescued. It was unclear how many Japanese citizens were involved, but officials are working to gather more information, said Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s deputy chief Cabinet secretary.
In Dhaka, witnesses near the cafe report hearing a fresh round of heavy gunfire after hours of quiet in the area. This came after media reports that police stormed the restaurant on Saturday morning.
Fayad Munaim, who could hear intense gunfire coming from the direction of Holey Artisan Bakery, where gunmen took hostages the night before, said the shots lasted about 10 minutes. Then the barrage stopped.
At least one injured person was removed from the site, another witness told CNN.
The terrorists may have taken as many as 20 hostages at the cafe, which is located in a diplomatic zone.
The hostage crisis followed a Friday night gun battle with police that left at least two senior officers dead and 40 people injured.
As police exchanged fire with the gunmen, the attackers threw explosives at officers, a source at the scene said.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attack, according to Amaq, an ISIS media branch. Some U.S. officials have cast doubt on the claim.
Yesterday evening, gunmen attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery, a cafe popular with the expatriate community. They took the people inside hostage, cafe worker Sumon Reza told CNN. Reza said he managed to escape as six to eight gunmen entered. About 20 people, some of them foreigners, were in the restaurant.
A police officer in charge of a nearby station was shot dead, Maruf Hasan of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said. A second officer died from gunshot wounds, Detective Police Deputy Commissioner Sheikh Nazmul Alam told CNN.
Alam said 40 people were wounded, some by gunshots and others by shrapnel from explosive devices.
Ataur Rahman, who was in his office about 200 meters from the restaurant, told CNN he went to the street as he heard a series of gunshots. “I thought it might be an attack somewhere nearby by local thugs.” He said people were racing for cover, saying gunmen were shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
“We are trying to resolve this issue peacefully,” Benzir Ahmed, the director general of the Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh Police, told reporters.