Attackers stormed a restaurant Friday night in Bangladesh’s capital, taking hostages within the diplomatic enclave and exchanging gunfire with police.
Bangladesh TV stations said about eight or nine attackers entered the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area around 9:20 p.m. local time (11:20 a.m. ET) and were holding customers and staff captive at gunpoint.
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.
The TV reports said the identities of the attackers were not immediately known.
Several foreigners are believed to be among the hostages inside the restaurant. It’s unclear how many people were being held.
“Some derailed youths have entered the restaurant and launched the attack,” said Benazir Ahmed, director general of the elite anti-crime force Rapid Action Battalion or RAB. “We have talked to some of the people who fled the restaurant after the attack. We want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers, we want to listen to them about what they want.”
The U.S. Embassy in Dhaka asked Americans in the area to shelter in place and monitor reports.