Developing: Armed Attackers Take Hostages in Bangladesh Attack

Update II: CNN is reporting that “some officials cast doubt on the claim” that it was an ISIS attack, and Reuters reports:  “Bangladesh security forces were preparing to free around 20 hostages.”

 Update: ABC News reports that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier:

Armed attackers stormed a restaurant in Bangladesh’s capital on Friday and have taken an unknown number of hostages.

Police and the gunmen exchanged fire and at least two officers have died.

“We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers,” BBC News quotes Benazir Ahmed, chief of the Rapid Action Battalion, Bangladesh’s elite police force, as saying.

“Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside,” he said.

Details are still emerging about the attack, but media reports thus far indicate that the attack began at roughly 9 PM at the Holey Artisan Bakery, which is located in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone.

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The restaurant owner, Sumon Reza, told CNN that between six and eight gunmen came in. He managed to escape. Bangladesh’s Daily Star adds that Reza said the attackers “came armed with pistols, swords and bombs” and “blasted several crude bombs causing wide-scale panic among everyone.” He said, “They shouted Allah hu Akbar before blasting the bombs.”

The Daily Star reports that at least 30 people have been injured, and says, citing diplomatic sources, there could be 20-30 hostages.

One resident, Tarique Mir, told Reuters that he still heard occasional gunfire three hours after the attack began.

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“It is chaos out there. The streets are blocked. There are dozens of police commandos,” he said.

Security official Fazle-e-Elahi told NBC News, “Suspects are extremist militants from an unidentified group,” and “are heavily armed and equipped.”  Ahmed told reporters it was “Some derailed youths” who launched the attack.

Follow the developments as they unfold on Twitter:

#Bangladesh Tweets

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