“We followed the development of the events all night long, hoping for a different outcome. Now a Presidential plane is flying to Dhaka. Official news will be first given to the victims’ families” – Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said after the terrible attack on a Bistrot in Dhaka, frequented by Italians. “In front of this tragedy due to radical extremism, I think it is the moment when Italy must stay united and offer a message of pain and compassion – added the premier -. We cry tears of sympathy and condolences, but it is also time to launch a message of determination: Italy did not step back before the folly of those who want to disintegrate daily life, we have been struck, but not they have not managed to bend us.”
A Bangladeshi army spokesman said that most of the 20 victims of the attack Dhaka are Italian and Japanese citizens. “Many of them were killed by assailants with sharp blades,” the army said after a night of terror. Those able to recite verses from the Koran seem to have been spared by the jihadists, others were tortured, said one of the hostages rescued from the Holey Artisan Bakery.
Prime Minister Hasina has told that a terrorist was wounded and arrested, adding that 13 hostages were freed and six attackers were killed in the blitz. “It was a heinous act. My government is determined to eradicate terrorism.” Official sources report also the death of two policemen. Four of the three hostages who were set free are foreigners. At present, Japan has announced that one of its citizens is among the freed hostages, while local media have mentioned also several citizens of Sri Lanka.
An Italian witness who was rescued said that many Italians were at the table inside the local. The blitz of Special Forces in the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in the capital of Bangladesh. Yesterday evening at 21.20 local time, an Islamic terrorist commando had taken hostage at least 35 people, including a dozen of foreigners (among whom there were at least seven Italians), after killing two policemen.
In the assault at the café, where 7-10 terrorists barricaded themselves were employed over one hundred men of the Rapid Action Battalion. The squads had tried to negotiate with the militants this night, but without result. A site linked to Isis, Amaq, which had already published a claim of the Caliphate, has released pictures of alleged victims in the restaurant: five or six corpses of men and women on the ground in pools of blood, amid the tables and food remains. The assault of the SWAT lasted about ten minutes, during which gunfire and explosions were heard. The rescued hostages were taken to hospital.
Bangladesh mostly pacific Muslim-majority country, has seen a rising tide of extremist motivated attacks in the last three years. The attacks, often with machetes, have targeted followers of religious minorities (Christians, Hindus, Buddhists), followers of Islam expressions that do not correspond to the orthodox Sunni branch, homosexual activists, and foreigners. Some of these actions were claimed by Isis and other branches of al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, even if the authorities attribute them to local factions. In the wake of this growing fundamentalism, the police launched a massive anti-jihadist operation in June, which led to the arrest of more than 5 thousand people, including about 200 suspected extremists.