Bangladesh attack: 13 hostages freed after security forces storm restaurant


Security forces have killed at least six militants and freed 13 hostages after storming a popular restaurant taken by gunmen in the heart of Bangladesh's diplomatic district.

Following a 10-hour stand-off in which a negotiation with the attackers could not be reached, more than 100 commandos began a co-ordinated response on Saturday morning in an attempt to free those trapped inside Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.

As many as nine gunmen targeted the eatery, which is popular with diplomats, on Friday and exchanged gunfire with police officers while also throwing explosives.

The Foreign Office has warned British travellers in the area to stay away from public areas.

Bangladeshi soldiers and security personnel

In a statement, it said that after the incident "we advise you to remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities", continuing: "Until further notice we specifically advise against visiting areas where foreign nationals are known to congregate such as public areas of International Hotels, large supermarkets, restaurants and clubs."

Bangladeshi commandos launched the rescue mission on Saturday morning as they moved to free the reported 35 hostages, including around 20 foreigners.

Gunfire and explosions could be heard as they swooped and battled the militants in a bid to end the siege.

Lieutenant Colonel Tuhin Mohammad Masud said some militants were captured.

He added: "We have gunned down at least six terrorists and the main building is cleared but the operation is still going on."

Bangladeshi policemen clear out an area to facilitate action against heavily armed militants

Two officers have been killed and authorities said another 25 officers and one civilian were being treated for injuries, including 10 people listed in critical condition. The injuries include bullet wounds and broken bones.

The Islamic State's Amaq News Agency said the attack was carried out by "Islamic State commandos", according to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activity.

A news agency affiliated with IS also posted images allegedly showing bodies of hostages lying in pools of blood inside the restaurant.