Dhaka, July 1: Five persons were killed after gunmen attacked a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic circles around 9 pm local time on Friday (July 1). Three civilians and two policemen died in the attack. The dead were yet to be identified. [Why Bangladesh is a bigger threat to India than Pakistan]
The attack took place at a restaurant called Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan district where the gunmen took about 20 hostages. The police exchanged 50 rounds of firing with the attackers who were eight in number, said local news reports.
According to latest reports, the Bangladeshi Home Minister has called for an emergency meeting to asses the situation.
The US Embassy in Dhaka said in a tweet that there were "reports of shooting and hosting situation".
The spot was cordoned off by the policemen and security forces. The Ministry of External Affairs said: "All Indian High Commission officials reportedly safe. Our High Commission monitoring situation."
Reports of shooting and hostage situation in Gulshan 2, Dhaka. Please shelter in place and monitor news.
Reports of shooting and hostage situation in Gulshan 2, Dhaka. Please shelter in place and monitor news.— U.S. Embassy Dhaka (@usembassydhaka) July 1, 2016
Bangladesh officer who briefed the media on TV appealed to stop live telecast of the hostage situation. Bangladesh TV channels immediately stopped broadcasting live from hostage situation after that.
Though the identity of the attackers was not clear, one source in the police told the BBC that Islamic militants were suspected. Bangladesh media later quoted intelligence sources reports that ISIS had claimed responsibility the attack.
Islamic militants have been targetting members of the minority community and liberal thinkers in the country over the past several months, putting the ruling Awami League of Sheikh Hasina under a lot of pressure to act.
The country's government carried out a massice raid recently, detaining over 3,000 people, in connection with the attacks.
The cafe where Friday's gun battle occurred is described as one being popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class people.
High-profile gun attacks are rare in Bangladesh but the latest incident could be a hint at a disaster in the making for India's eastern neighbour.