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Friday, July 1

Breaking News: Bangladesh Forces Move to End Hostage Standoff

(Dhaka is 10 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time:)

RT is reporting that "at least" 10 hostages freed as Bangladeshi forces stormed the site.

Reuters reported that 7 Italians were among the hostages and that one had escaped.

See also 'live' reports on the hostage crisis from the Dhaka Tribune, last updated 9:24 AM July 2 local time: "5 bodies recovered, 14 rescued, 2 cops killed: 11 hours into the apparent terrorist attack, law enforcement still have the area under lockdown. Gunfire and explosions are being heard."


See also NBC News update JUL 1 2016, 10:54 PM EDT:

Bangladeshi security forces on Saturday reportedly moved to end a standoff at a restaurant popular with foreigners where gunmen took what was feared to be dozens of hostages the night before.
Local media reported that gunfire and explosions were heard at around 7:40 a.m. local time in the diplomatic district of the nation's capital of Dhaka, where the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery occurred Friday night.
"Our commandos have stormed into the restaurant. Intense gunfighting on," Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, a deputy director at the Rapid Action Battalion force, told Reuters.
The gunfire as troops moved to storm the restaurant was heard more than 10 hours after the attack began. Journalists were not allowed near the scene.
"We heard gunfire open, it continued for about 10 minutes — very loud, rapid gunfire, multiple explosions," Maimuna Ahmad, who lives near the restaurant, told MSNBC. The gunfire was then sporadic and stopped, she said.
Seven or eight attackers with guns and bombs attacked the bakery in Dhaka's Gulshan district, described as popular with foreigners, at around 9:20 p.m. Friday local time (11:20 a.m. EDT), officials said.
The ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency reported that the ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the terror research firms Flashpoint Intelligence and Site Intelligence Group. The claim has not been confirmed.
At least four security personnel were killed responding to the attack, a senior police official, Assistant Superintendent Fazle-e-Elahi told NBC News.
Fazle-e-Elahi, said most of the police casualties occurred when one hostage escaped, and as officers rushed to help him a grenade was tossed at them from a balcony. The dead included the assistant police commissioner, he said.
He described the assailants as "heavily armed and equipped" and "tactically sound."
"The attackers are not identified. They were shouting 'Allah Akbar' when they entered the restaurant," Fazle-e-Elahi said.
Sumon Reza, a kitchen staffer who escaped the attack, told reporters that the gunmen were armed with firearms and bombs as they entered the restaurant.
A huge contingent of security guards cordoned off the area around the establishment, trading gunfire with the attackers who set off bombs.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said all of the Americans under the diplomatic chief of mission in Dhaka are accounted for. Officials were still accounting for other American citizens who may have been in the area.
Fazle-e-Elahi, said most of the police casualties occurred when one hostage escaped, and as officers rushed to help him a grenade was tossed at them from a balcony. The dead included the assistant police commissioner, he said.
He described the assailants as "heavily armed and equipped" and "tactically sound."
"The attackers are not identified. They were shouting 'Allah Akbar' when they entered the restaurant," Fazle-e-Elahi said.
Sumon Reza, a kitchen staffer who escaped the attack, told reporters that the gunmen were armed with firearms and bombs as they entered the restaurant.
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