Tag: Dhaka

Gunmen take hostages in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka

Gunmen have stormed a popular cafe in the diplomatic area of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, taking a number of hostages, officials say.

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Passers-by helped to carry the injured away from the Holey Artisan Bakery

Several foreigners are among those being held by eight or nine armed men in the city’s Gulshan district, they add.

Two police officers have been killed in a gun battle, a spokesman said, and about 30 others injured.

So-called Islamic State has said it carried out the attack.

A statement on the group’s self-styled news agency Amaq said militants had attacked a restaurant “frequented by foreigners”. It said that more than 20 people “of different nationalities” had been killed but this has not been confirmed.

Security forces say they are trying to negotiate the hostages’ release.

Initial reports said that as many as 20 foreigners were among those taken captive.

Italian nationals are believed to be among them, a source at the Italian foreign ministry said, quoted by Reuters.

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A Dhaka hospital said about 30 police officers had been injured

“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.”

Police said the gunmen burst into the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe at about 21:20 (13:20 GMT) and opened fire.

The cafe is described as being popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families.

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Police and officers of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion are at the scene

Media reports quoted witnesses as saying that “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is greatest”, was heard as the attack took place.

An eyewitness said she heard a loud noise, followed by continuous gunfire.

“The glass of my drawing room shattered,” Rashila Rahim said.

“My auntie, her daughter and two friends went there for Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fasting) and they have not come back. We cannot even check where they are.”

Another local resident, Tarique Mir, said he could hear sporadic gunfire nearly three hours after the attack began.

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

BBC South Asia editor Jill McGivering says that although high-profile gun attacks are rare in Bangladesh, the latest incident follows a series of murders widely blamed on Islamist extremists.

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Source: BBC News



Bangladesh killings: Hindu teacher attacked at home

A Hindu college teacher in Bangladesh has been attacked on his doorstep by three men armed with knives, according to local police.

He is critically ill in hospital.

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Security has been stepped up since the wave of attacks began

The assault, in the town of Madaripur, is the latest in a series of recent attacks on religious minorities, secular writers and academics.

Last week, Bangladesh’s prime minister vowed to bring an end to the violence, and police launched an operation against Islamists.

Ripon Charkavarti was attacked with machete knives as he opened the door at his home.

Police said they are questioning one of the three suspects caught by local people while trying to escape.

Earlier attacks have been widely attributed to Islamist extremists and are causing growing concern.

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Regular protests have been held following attacks on secular bloggers and minorities

In many cases, the Islamic State group or al-Qaeda say they carried out the attacks but the government denies the group is active in the country, our correspondent in Dhaka, Waliur Rahman, says.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has said her government will do whatever it takes to stop the attacks.

“Where will the criminals hide? Each and every killer will be brought to book,” she told a meeting of her governing Awami League party on Saturday.
Police launched a campaign last Friday, and have arrested thousands of people.

However, critics say many ordinary criminals were among those held.

More than 40 people, including secular bloggers, academics, gay rights activists and members of religious minorities, have been killed in attacks blamed on Islamist militants in Bangladesh since February 2013.

Last Friday, a Hindu monastery worker was hacked to death in Pabna district.

Over the past two weeks, a Hindu priest, a Christian grocer and the wife of an anti-terror police officer were all killed in attacks by suspected Islamist militants.

Source: BBC News



Italian priest shot in Bangladesh by gunmen

Attack on priest riding bicycle in northern city of Dinajpur is latest targeting foreigners blamed on Islamic militants

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Troops guard the Bangabandhu national stadium before a World Cup qualification match, in Dhaka on Tuesday. Security has been tightened in the city since the Paris attacks. Photograph: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

An Italian priest is fighting for his life in northern Bangladesh after being shot and seriously wounded by unidentified gunmen.

The attack today is the latest in a series targeting foreigners in the country, which have been blamed on Islamic militant groups including Islamic State.

The priest, identified only as Piero, was riding his bicycle in the northern city of Dinajpur when gunmen on a motorbike shot him several times at close range before fleeing, a police inspector said.

It was unclear who was responsible. The attack comes after an Italian aid worker was shot dead in September and a Japanese farmer was killed days later in Dhaka, the capital. Isis claimed responsibility for both attacks.
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The Bangladesh government has repeatedly denied the group was behind the attacks, saying there is “no presence of [Isis] militancy” in the Muslim-majority country and blaming local opposition political parties.

Western intelligence services and governments, however, fear Isis and other international extremist organisations are gaining a foothold in the poor, chaotic nation.

Bangladesh is also reeling from a series of murders of secular bloggers and a publisher of secular books, attacks claimed by a local banned hardline Islamic militant group thought to be linked to al-Qaida.

However, there has been several violent disputes between Christians and Muslims in recent months in the area where the shooting occurred, and it is possible that the attackers had purely local motivations. Many were linked to land disputes.

Cities across south Asia are on high alert after the events in Paris last week, where Isis terrorists killed more 129 people. The methods used by the gunmen in Dinajpur resembled the group’s previous attacks against foreigners.

“It was a planned attack,” said Ruhul Amin, chief of Dinajpur police. “It was a continuation of the attacks being perpetrated across the country.”

Tarun Kanti Halder, director of the hospital treating the priest said his condition was stable but it could deteriorate. “Piero has nasal fractures which could lead to internal bleeding. His eyelid has also been badly bruised,” Halder said. A bullet is believed to have slipped past his head but it did not penetrate.

The priest, who is in his 60s, had been working as a doctor at a Catholic mission in Dinajpur for some time, according to another priest, Anthony Sen, who lives in the city.

Sen said Piero had been riding a bicycle at about 8am when three attackers shot him at close range.

Source: The Guardian



Fears for Christians as Isis kills aid worker in Bangladesh

by Sean Smith, UCA News

dhakamurder295The death of a Christian aid worker in Bangladesh is the first terrorist atrocity to be carried out in the country by Isis, it is believed.
The terror group confirmed that they shot dead Cesare Tavella in Dhaka while he was out jogging in the diplomatic area of the capital.

Local police said that he appeared to have been ambushed by three men who had pulled to the side of the road on a motorcycle. The men fired at Mr Tavella at least three times before fleeing on the bike.
“We think it was a pre-planned killing,” said Mohammad Abdul Ahad, a Dhaka police official.

According to the SITE Intelligence Group, a UK group which monitors radical Islamic websites, Isis issued a statement after the killing claiming that a “security detachment” had tracked Mr Tavella through the streets of Dhaka and then killed him using “silenced weapons.”  In its statement, Islamic State hinted at more attacks in Bangladesh and said citizens of what it called “the crusader coalition” were not safe, even in the homes of Muslims.  The crusader coalition – a thinly veiled reference to the Crusades in the Middle Ages – is a name coined by Isis to represent all Western democracies.

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Dhaka police detectives cordon off the scene of the shooting on Monday night (PA)

No arrests had been made, and police officials cautioned that they could not immediately confirm that the Islamic State was behind the shooting.

Security concerns for non-Muslims have escalated since 2010 when Bangladesh’s constitution was returned from an Islamic state back into a secular democracy. A spate of killings of atheist bloggers by Muslim fundamentalists has led to intelligence suggesting that Isis was about to make its first inroads into Bangladesh, which has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world.

At least four bloggers have been killed in the last 18 months, the latest being Niladri Chatterjee, 40, who was hacked to death in his home in Dhaka last month.

Cricket Australia are ready to cancel a three-week tour of Bangladesh for the Australian cricket team after security officials received unconfirmed reports that it will be targeted for terror attacks.

The Australian players have already been told to return to their regional teams and are not expecting to have to travel to the troubled region.
The United States and United Kingdom have issued alerts to their citizens living in Bangladesh, warning of further militant attacks and urging them to remain vigilant.

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Cricket Australia are ready to postpone their three-week tour of Bangladesh (PA)

Western embassies in Bangladesh have also restricted their diplomats’ movements amid concern more foreigners might be targeted by Islamic State.

Father Albert Rozario, secretary of the Bangladesh Catholic Bishops’ Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, told ucanews.com: “The murder is strange because Cesare Tavella was not a diplomat. Moreover, the red alerts from the US and UK governments are dangerous signs for the country.  “The government should take the matter seriously and check on a possible militant link. It should ensure security for everyone and resist those who want to make Bangladesh an Islamic state,” the priest added.

Mr Tavella, 50, who arrived in Bangladesh in May to run a food security project for the Dutch Protestant development group ICCO Cooperation, had more than 20 years experience in rural development, mostly in Asia.

Source: The Tablet

Additional reporting by UCA News