At least 20 people have been killed by gunmen in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, as security forces stormed the Holey Artisan cafe the city’s diplomatic area. Thirteen hostages had been also been rescued by security forces at the end of a 10-hour-long seige, Reuters reported.
“Most [of] them had been brutally hacked to death with sharp weapons,” said army spokesman Brigadier General Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury according to Al Jazeera. The dead are thought to include a number of foreigners,
Terror group ISIL has already claimed responsibility for the attack. Bangladeshi security forces killed six terrorists, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said, while one was captured alive. The gunmen attacked the cafe at around 9pm on July 1.
At least two police officers have died in the stand-off, according to CNN, and an estimated 40 people have been injured.
Bangladesh, which is home to over 150 million Muslims, has experienced a surge in religious violence over the last few years. More than 20 atheist bloggers, journalists, and activists have been murdered in the country.
This is not the first time that ISIL has taken responsibility for an attack in Bangladesh, although the country’s government has consistently denied any presence of the extremist religious group in the country.