Washington, Jul 2: The US has said it cannot yet confirm the Islamic State terror group's claim owning responsibility for the hostage crisis in a restaurant in Dhaka's high security diplomatic area. "We have seen ISIL (ISIS) claims of responsibility, but cannot yet confirm and are assessing the information available to us," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
According to US media reports, ISIS has claimed responsibility of the attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka last night. But according to CNN, senior US officials believe that the attack has been probably carried out by Al Qaeda in Indian Sub-continent, which was declared as a terrorist organisation by the US only a day earlier.
"You can say we are aware of these reports but refer to Bangladeshi authorities," a senior administration official told PTI when asked about the news reports.
Bangladeshi commandos early morning launched an operation to free at least 20 hostages, including several foreigners, from the restaurant in Dhaka's high-security Gulshan diplomatic area that was stormed by suspected Islamic State militants, in which two policemen were killed and 30 others injured. United States President Barrack Obama was also briefed by his top counter-terrorism official last night on the attack.
"Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco has briefed the President on the ongoing situation in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The President asked to be kept informed as the situation develop," a senior White House official said.
The State Department said it is monitoring the situation and has offered assistance to Bangladesh and all Americans at the US Embassy has been accounted for. "We are in ongoing contact with the Government of Bangladesh as the situation continues to unfold.
We have offered our assistance in their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for these attacks and to combat terrorism and violent extremism," Kirby said.
He said the US embassy in Dhaka has confirmed 100 percent accountability of all official American personnel with no injuries reported. "We are working with the local authorities to determine if any US citizens and locallyemployed staff were affected," he added.
"On learning of the attack our embassy issued a shelter-in-place order. This order was issued out of caution, but at no time was the embassy compound itself under immediate threat from this attack," Kirby said.
"We join with the people of Bangladesh in expressing our outrage at this brutal act of terrorism and offer our condolences to the friends and families of the victims, including Bangladeshi law enforcement officials who have been killed or injured responding to the attack," he said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal said, "Praying for the safety of all impacted by the terror attack in Dhaka, including the law enforcement and security forces".