Islamic State claims attack, hostage taking in Bangladesh cafe

The Islamic State has claimed the attack and hostage taking at a cafe popular to foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Friday.

Gunmen who reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS stormed and opened fire at a restaurant where expatriates and diplomats dine and hangout. The terror group said 24 people died in the assault but security officials denied the report.

Bangladesh police told reporters that two police officers were killed and at least 40 people were injured.

Italian ambassador to Bangladesh Mario Palma said 7 Italians were among those taken hostage. Initially there were eight but one of the Italian hostages managed to escape, reports said.

Security forces attempted to enter the establishment to rescue the hostages but they were welcomed with bullets, bombs, and grenades. Police deputy inspector general Binoy Bala said that 27 cops were injured during the operation.

A video aired on television showed some policemen being led away from the premises with blood on their faces and uniforms.

A resident living near the restaurant told reporters that he heard gunshots hours after the attack started and said there was chaos in the area as the hostage-taking was taking place.

The U.S. State Department said Americans working at the U.S. mission in Dhaka have all been accounted for. The White House said President Barack Obama has been informed and briefed about the attack.

The foreign affairs department in the Philippines has not announced whether there were Filipinos affected by the attack in Bangladesh.