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At least nine terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar” barged into the Holey Artisan Bakery, frequented by diplomats and expatriates, and opened indiscriminate fire at around yesterday. They then engaged in a fierce gun battle with Bangladesh security forces and hurled grenades at them. Two policemen were killed and 30 injured in the exchange. Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency, nearly four hours after the hostage crisis unfolded, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence group, which monitors jihadi activity online.

Amaq also claimed that 20 people had been killed in the attack. Local media reported that one of the hostages, a Bangladeshi man, managed to call up his relative and told him to ask police not to fire, as he feared the gunmen would kill them all. He said there were around 20 foreigners present at the restaurant during the attack, according to newspaper website Prothom Alok. Internet services have been restricted in the area following orders from higher authorities, internet service provider, Aamra, said.

The Muslim-majority Bangladesh has been fighting a wave of deadly attacks on religious minorities and secular bloggers by suspected Islamist militants. Earlier today, a Hindu priest and a Buddhist leader were brutally hacked to death by machete-wielding Islamic State militants while another Hindu man survived a bid on his life.

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