Dhaka hostage crisis ends after a commando operation

Bangla police commandos have stormed the restaurant in Dhaka’s high-security Gulshan diplomatic area and efforts are on to rescue about 20 people held hostage by Islamic State terrorists, reports said Saturday morning.
At least 20 people including foreigners held hostage, triggering a fierce gunbattle with Bangladesh security forces in which five including two policemen were killed and 40 injured.
The father of a teenage Indian girl, who was among the hostages, urged authorities to expedite negotiations for her safe release.
Two persons — an Argentine national and a Bangladeshi– who had taken refuge in a nearby house when the the gunmen entered the restaurant, were rescued by police.
Police also said they have detained two employees of the restaurant for questioning.
Several foreigners, including Italians and Japanese, were feared to have been taken hostage along with locals inside the restaurant, they said.
However, the total number of hostages still remains uncertain.
At least nine terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar” barged into the Holey Artisan Bakery, frequented by diplomats and expatriates, and opened indiscriminate fire at around 9:20 PM (local time) on Friday.
Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency, nearly four hours after the hostage crisis unfolded. Amaq also claimed that 20 people had been killed in the attack.
Bangladeshi security forces are preparing to launch a commando operation to free the hostages.
A Rapid Action Battalion official said that they were “awaiting final directives” from higher authorities to launch the operation.
Security officials issued instructions to people in the neighbourhood to stay indoors. No one was allowed on the streets in the vicinity of the restaurant, a police official said on the condition of anonymity.
Security forces, including Navy, Army and Air force personnel, were seen mobilising equipment in preparation for the operation.
RAB chief Benazir Ahmed said efforts were underway to free the hostages in a peaceful manner. Throughout the night, security forces asked terrorists to surrender, but failed to get any response from the other side.