By now you know Islamist attackers stormed a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday. The siege ended after several hours, but not before 20 people were brutally murdered.
We now know they were all foreigners, and it is likely the restaurant was chosen simply because there would be many foreign, non-Muslims inside. The attackers were armed with guns and “sharp weapons.”
Yahoo reports, The gunmen, who stormed the busy restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic area late on Friday night, ordered all Bangladeshis to stand up before they began killing foreigners, a source briefed on the police investigation said.
Fox News reports, Rezaul Karim, the father of a Bangladeshi businessman who was rescued along with his family, said the attackers did not harm any hostage who could recite verses from the Islamic holy book, Koran.
Karim said his son told him that the attackers “did not hit people who could recite verses from the Koran. The others were tortured,” he said.
“The gunmen asked everyone inside to recite from the Koran. Those who recited were spared. The gunmen even gave them meals last night,” Karim said.
Yahoo says, Among the dead was the wife of an Italian businessman killed by a machete. She was found by her husband after he spent all night hiding behind a tree outside the cafe while the gunmen were inside, Agnese Barolo, a friend who lives in Dhaka and spoke to him, told Reuters.
Seven Italians were in the cafe when the attack started, including several working in the garment industry, Italian media have reported, while seven Japanese citizens were unaccounted for.
The killing of foreigners will likely shatter the confidence of the expatriate community in Bangladesh, many of whom work for multinationals in the country’s $26 billion garment sector that accounts for around 15 percent of the economy. Bangladesh is the world’s second largest apparel exporter after China.
Thirteen hostages were rescued, including one Japanese and two Sri Lankans, the army said.
Islamic State, which has claimed a series of machete attacks on minority groups in Bangladesh over the past year, posted photos of bodies and blood smeared across floors that it said were dead foreigners killed in the assault.
It marks a major escalation in a campaign by militants over the past 18 months that had targeted mostly individuals advocating a secular or liberal lifestyle in majority-Muslim Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has seen a spate of murders in recent months claimed by Islamic State and al-Qaida on liberals, gays, foreigners and religious minorities.
A Hindu priest was hacked to death on Friday at a temple in Jhinaidah district, 300 km (188 miles) southwest of Dhaka.
Local authorities say no operational links exist between Bangladeshi militants and international jihadi networks. They say two local militant groups, Ansar-al-Islam and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, have been behind the violence over the past 18 months. Ansar pledges allegiance to al-Qaida, while Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen claims it represents Islamic State.
But there is one thing all of these barbarians have in common that our own government finds difficult to accept or admit: they are all killing in the name of Allah, in the name of Islam. We are not under attack by “terror.” We are not under attack just by al-Qaida or ISIS. We are hated by all of militant, radical Islam whether it is promulgated by the government of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram or any of these other Islamist organizations. And the longer we refuse to admit it, the more this cancer grows.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]