FOX NEWS — Bangladesh’s Prime Minister vowed Saturday to fight terrorism “at all costs” after 20 people were killed after Islamic gunmen took dozens of hostages during a 10-hour siege at a restaurant.
The victims included two students from Emory University in Georgia and nine Italians.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned the attack while pledging to stand up and fight the terror threats that has mushroomed in the country, Reuters reported.
“We are committed and determined to uphold or freedom,” Hasina said, adding that Bangladesh will fight the terror threat “at all costs.”
At least seven Islamic terrorists attacked the upscale restaurant in the diplomatic quarter of Bangladesh’s capital Friday night.
Early Saturday, a Bangladeshi commando raid supported by armored vehicles resulted in the deaths of at least six attackers and the capture of a seventh. Thirteen hostages were rescued. Two police officers were killed in an earlier gun battle with the militants.
The Islamic terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the cafe, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity online. The ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency posted photos purportedly showing the bodies of hostages, though their authenticity could not be immediately confirmed.
At a news conference, Army Brigadier General Naim Asraf Chowdhury said most of the victims “were killed mercilessly” with sharp weapons on Friday night.
Earlier, a police official told AP that that five bodies were seen lying in pools of blood at the restaurant. It was not immediately clear whether they were the remains of militants or hostages.
A Bangladeshi army spokesman said all the victims were foreigners.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the bodies of nine Italians have been identified among the dead.
A Japanese government spokesman said that seven Japanese were among those killed in the siege.
Emory students Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain were among those taken hostage and murdered by the terrorists who stormed the café, Emory President James Wagner said in a message Saturday on the university’s Web site.
Wagner said Kabir was from Miami and was in Dhaka visiting family and friends. He said Hossain just graduated and was enrolled in Emory’s business school for the fall.
“The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of two members of our university family,” Wagner said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of Faraaz and Abinta and their families and friends for strength and peace at this unspeakably sad time.”
A Bangladeshi police official said two Sri Lankans were rescued Saturday, while local media reported that an Argentine and two Bangladeshis escaped prior to the raid.