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Twenty people, all of them foreigners, were killed during an attack by suspected Islamists on a cafe in Bangladesh, officials say.

Gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka late on Friday before troops entered almost 12 hours later.

Six of the attackers were also killed and one was arrested, a government spokesman said. The attack was claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Most victims were reportedly from Italy and Japan.

In the latest developments:

  • Army Brig Gen Naim Asraf Chowdhury said the victims had been “brutally” attacked with sharp weapons
  • Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said seven other Japanese nationals were in the cafe, but that the government had not yet been able to contact them
  • Seven Italian nationals are believed to have been in the cafe, the Italian ambassador in Dhaka, Mario Palma, was quoted as saying by Italian media
  • Italian news agency Ansa said most victims were from Italy and Japan – Italian media said many of those dining at the cafe worked in the garment industry
  • Gen Chowdhury said 13 people were rescued including one Japanese national and two Sri Lankans

The siege began as diners were gathering to break their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“It was an extremely heinous act,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a televised statement. “What kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion.

“My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper said the gunmen tortured anyone who was unable to recite the Koran. They provided meals overnight for only the Bangladeshi captives, it said.

Sumon Reza, a supervisor at the cafe, was in the restaurant in Gulshan district when the attack began, but managed to flee to the roof.

“The whole building was shaking when they set off explosives,” he told media in Bangladesh. He later jumped off the roof and escaped.

“From 08:00 it all started,” said Rashila Rahim, who lives near the cafe. “Gunshots, tank sounds… It was like we were in the middle, and gunshots from all around.”

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Relatives of some of those inside the cafe are gathering for updates


‘On a different scale’:

Anbarasan Ethirajan, BBC South Asia analyst

bangladesh cafe terrorist killings images www.crimefiles (3)

The timing, the target and the message of the daring attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka was loud and clear.

The Islamist militants struck on the last weekend before the Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr. Dozens of diners were at the cafe, which is popular among foreigners and middle-class Bangladeshis.

The Gulshan district is a high-security area and considered among the safest places in Dhaka. Several embassies and non-governmental organisations are based in the neighbourhood and hundreds of foreigners and wealthy Bangladeshis live there.

The government had stepped up security after an Italian aid worker was killed in the area by suspected militants in 2015. It’s difficult to travel through Gulshan without passing through a security check post. But the latest attack has shown that even Gulshan is not safe.

Over the past three years, more than 40 people have been killed in Bangladesh by suspected Islamists. But the attacks mostly targeted individuals – secular bloggers, writers, activists, academics and members of religious minorities. The attack on the cafe was on a different scale. It seems to have been well planned and well co-ordinated.


The attack began when eight or nine armed men burst into the cafe in the diplomatic area of the city at about 21:20 (15:20 GMT) on Friday and opened fire.

bangladesh cafe terrorist killings images www.crimefiles (1)

Media reports quoted witnesses as saying that “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great”, was heard as the militants entered the cafe, which is popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families.

bangladesh cafe terrorist killings images www.crimefiles (2)

At least two police officers were killed in exchanges of fire late on Friday, and 30 police officers were injured.

A statement on the IS’s self-styled Amaq news agency said militants had attacked a restaurant “frequented by foreigners”. It said that more than 20 people “of different nationalities” had been killed but this has not been confirmed.

Lt Col Tuhin Mohammad Masud, commander of the Rapid Action Battalion, told Associated Press the gunmen did not respond when asked to negotiate. It is unclear if they made any demands.

The attack comes after a spate of murders of secular bloggers, gay activists, academics and members of religious minorities, blamed on Islamist militants.

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Henry Sapiecha


This primate was not monkeying around when he stole the cash from the jewellery store drawer

Trained Monkey Robs Rs 10000 from Jewellery Shop in India (Guntur), Monkey Thieves Caught on Camera

A thieving monkey has been filmed ransacking a jewellery shop and running off with cash in India.

The primate is said to have deliberately distracted staff by throwing a piece of fruit into the shop before “advancing towards the cash drawers”, The Hindu Times reports.

“The monkey threw a guava inside the shop. Then it entered the store in the pretext of taking back the fruit. We threw the fruit back but it entered the shop anyway,” the unnamed shop owner said.

“It sat for almost 20 minutes in the store and then it opened the drawer and took away cash.”

More than $200 is believed to have been stolen from the store, which is located in the city of Guntur, on India’s east coast.

It is not known if the cash has been recovered.

MONKEY-THIEF-STEALS-MONEY-FROM-JEWELLRY-STORE-IN-INDIA image www.crimefiles.net

Monkeys, which are revered by Hindus, often run riot in urban centres in India, to the point where a “monkey prison” has been established for the more criminally minded primates.

One such jail, in the northern city of Patiala, houses 11 monkeys apprehended for thieving and attacking people.

“It’s unlikely that any of them will ever be paroled,” warden Ram Tirath told The Daily Telegraph.

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Protests after Christian nun allegedly pack raped in India

8 pack rapists detained in Bengal christian nun gang rape case,

Role of insiders probed say sources. Video report says it all here.

Indians hold vigils and protests after the alleged rape of a 75-year-old nun during an armed assault on a convent school.

Hundreds of priests, school girls and other protesters staged a peaceful rally on Monday in the Indian city of Kolkata to support an elderly nun who was gang-raped at her convent school.

Nuns dressed in white habits joined other women of all backgrounds and ages, including girls still in their uniforms, to express their sorrow over the attack and anger over incessant levels of sexual assault in India.

Holding placards and banners that read “This world belongs to women” and “We want rape-free India”, the crowd gathered quietly in a park in the centre of the eastern city as speakers took to a makeshift stage nearby to condemn the “unacceptable” attack.

Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been heavily criticised for not speaking out earlier against religious violence and has also faced flak for remaining silent on a spate of attacks on churches.

Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been heavily criticised for not speaking out earlier against religious violence and has also faced flak for remaining silent on a spate of attacks on churches. Photo: AFP

“We are not violent, we are not witches. And we will launch a big protest if attacks on Christian minorities continue,” Kolkata businesswoman Hari Joseph Marien said.
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Bank manager Partha Tripathi said she was prompted to join the protest because the crime was one “against humanity,” adding: “It seems that even animals (behave) better.”

Later in the evening, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee faced hundreds of angry protesters in Ranaghat, 70 kilometres from Kolkata, where she had gone to meet the nun who is recovering in hospital.

This closed circuit television image captured on Saturday at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ranaghat and released by West Bengal Police shows two of the ten suspects in the gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun at the convent.

This closed circuit television image captured on Saturday at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ranaghat and released by West Bengal Police shows two of the ten suspects in the gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun at the convent. Photo: AFP

The woman, aged in her 70s, needed surgery from injuries suffered during the attack.

The protesters, who were chanting slogans demanding justice and arrest of the alleged rapists, blocked Banerjee’s car from leaving the hospital.

The chaos continued for over half an hour before the minister assured the protesters of immediate police action.

Indian Christians and social activists take part in a peace-rally and protest against the gang-rape of a nun in Allahabad on Monday.

Indian Christians and social activists take part in a peace-rally and protest against the gang-rape of a nun in Allahabad on Monday. Photo: Sanjay Kanojia

‘Shocked and appalled’ 

The nun, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was attacked after the robbers ransacked the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ranaghat and stole cash and other items.

A holy scripture was also torn and a statue of Jesus was broken.

A woman holds a poster of Mother Teresa during a vigil. Christians in India said on Monday that the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi had not done enough to protect their religion after a spate of attacks.

A woman holds a poster of Mother Teresa during a vigil. Christians in India said on Monday that the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi had not done enough to protect their religion after a spate of attacks. Photo: Reuters

Police said Monday 10 men have been detained for questioning but no arrests have been made, even though the faces of four of the robbers were captured on CCTV footage.

The assault on the nun is the latest in a string of high-profile rapes in India and comes after a spate of attacks on churches that prompted Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promise a crackdown on religious violence.

Priests and other Christian leaders have blamed those attacks on religious hardliners, who are said to have become emboldened since Modi swept to power at general elections last May.

The car carrying Indian Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee (centre) is surrounded by angry demonstrators during a protest following the rape of a nun near the Convent of Jesus and Mary at Ranaghat, north of Kolkata, on Monday.

The car carrying Indian Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee (centre) is surrounded by angry demonstrators during a protest following the rape of a nun near the Convent of Jesus and Mary at Ranaghat, north of Kolkata, on Monday. Photo: AFP

Modi had been heavily criticised for not speaking out earlier against religious violence and has also faced flak for remaining silent about a spate of mass “re-conversions” of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza stressed the morning rally was not against any political party, as fear and dismay mount in India’s Christian community, which has been deeply upset over the recent attacks on churches.

D’Souza estimated that a couple of thousand people took part in the rally at which prayers were held and candles lit alongside a statue of Mother Teresa, a missionary who worked tirelessly in the slums of Kolkata.

A man holds a placard as Indian Christians and others condemn the gang-rape of a nun at a Christian missionary school in eastern India.

A man holds a placard as Indian Christians and others condemn the gang-rape of a nun at a Christian missionary school in eastern India. Photo: AP

“We have assurances from the government that the miscreants will be arrested, but not much headway has been made in this regard,” he said of the rape.

The incident adds to a grim record of sexual assaults in India and comes during a raging debate over the banning of a documentary about a December 2012 gang-rape in New Delhi that sparked national and international outrage.

“I am shocked and appalled that something like this could happen,” 20-year-old American Brianna Miller, who is studying in Kolkata, said at the rally.

Indian residents and members of the Christian community take part in a vigil and protest against the gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun at a convent-school in Kolkata on Monday.

Indian residents and members of the Christian community take part in a vigil and protest against the gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun at a convent-school in Kolkata on Monday. Photo: AFP

Modi in February pledged a crackdown on religious violence and freedom of worship for all faiths in the wake of the vandalism and arson attacks on churches.

Around 80 per cent of India’s 1.2 billion population is Hindu, but it is also home to large numbers of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.

His government again came under criticism on Monday, with opposition lawmakers raising the nun’s rape in the national parliament.

“Our PM has been saying again and again that he will ensure there is no attack on minorities. What is the sanctity of such assurances then?” asked D. Raja, a member of the Communist Party of India.

AFP

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TWO TEENAGE SISTERS in rural India have been gang raped and killed by attackers who then hung their bodies from a mango tree.

Two of the four men arrested so far are police officers.

Villagers found the girls’ bodies hanging from the tree early yesterday, hours after they disappeared from fields near their home in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, police Superintendent Atul Saxena said.

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Lack of evidence in India gang rape

Five suspects to be freed in the rape and murder of two teens found hanging in a tree, after a forensic report appeared to contradict earlier claims the girls had been raped.

New Delhi: Indian investigators say they will not charge five men detained earlier this year on suspicion of raping and murdering two teenage girls in a case that sparked global outrage.

The cousins, aged 14 and 15, were found hanging from a tree in an impoverished village in northern Uttar Pradesh state in May.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s top investigative agency, said it would not “as yet” file charges against the men, citing a lack of evidence, but did not rule out future charges.

Indian demonstrator holds a placard in honour of a physiotherapy student who was gang-raped and murdered image www.crimefiles.net

An Indian demonstrator holds a placard in honour of a physiotherapy student who was gang-raped and murdered at a protest to mark the one-year anniversary of her death. Photo: AFP

The men are expected to be released on Friday after 90 days in detention, the maximum time that a person can be held without being charged in India.

“Based on our investigations so far, we are not going to file the charge-sheet at this stage. However, no one has been given a clean chit as yet,” CBI spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad told AFP.

The girls were reported at the time to have been gang-raped and murdered after going into the fields to relieve themselves because their homes, like most in their village in Badaun district, lacked toilets.

The attack sparked public outrage after the family complained of police apathy towards them because they came from a lower caste.

Media reports say the CBI’s decision was based on forensic tests that had ruled out sexual assault in the case.

India brought in tougher rape laws last year for crimes against women after the fatal gang-rape of a physiotherapy student on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012.

AFP

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