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Victims of Dhaka Cafe Attack

Nikolai Sorokin / Dollar Photo Club

Victims of Dhaka Cafe Attack

Two police officers and 20 hostages were killed by terrorists during an attack on a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 1, 2016, according to multiple news sources.

The gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, Friday evening. They took over 30 hostages and exchanged gunfire with security forces. Law enforcement officials confirmed that two police officers were killed during the shootout. The gunmen also reportedly used explosives such as grenades during the fight.

The siege lasted 11 hours and ended when Bangladeshi troops stormed the café, freeing 13 hostages and finding the bodies of 20 hostages who had been killed with sharp-edged weapons.

The Holey Artisan Bakery is a popular café with young people and Westerners living in and visiting Dhaka, according to CNN. It is located in an area of the capital city close to many foreign embassies. The attack comes during the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during the day and eat their meals at night, which may have been a factor in the restaurant becoming a target.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its media outlet, Amaq News Agency. However, U.S. officials suspect that al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent may have been involved. The two extremist groups have been competing for influence in Bangladesh.

Over 170 million people live in Bangladesh, which is bordered by India and Myanmar in southern Asia. The Muslim-majority nation has seen an increase in militant activity in recent years. These attacks have targeted minority groups as well as others who speak critically of Islam.

The Bangladeshi-American blogger and activist Avijit Roy was murdered, and his wife severely injured by extremists in February 2015. Earlier on Friday, a 52-year-old Hindu priest was killed at his temple.

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