Gunmen seized a bakery in Dhaka overnight, killing 20 hostages and two officers in a siege that ended Saturday morning, the Bangladeshi military said.
All the hostages killed were foreigners, the military said.
The attackers used guns, explosive devices and “a lot of sharp domestic weapons,” said Brig. Gen. Naeem Ashfaq Chowdhury of the Bangladesh army. The hostages’ bodies were found after the standoff ended in the country’s capital.
Bangladeshi troops rescued 14 hostages, according to Brig. Gen. Mujibur Rahman of the Bangladesh army.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina provided a different number, but officials said the figures are preliminary.
“We were able to save 13 people, we weren’t able to save a few,” Hasina said at a news conference. Six terrorists were killed and one was captured alive, she said.
One Japanese national and two Sri Lankans were among the hostages rescued, officials from both nations said.
Witnesses described chaotic scenes when the gunmen raided the Holey Artisan Bakery.
Cafe worker Shumon Reza said he saw six to eight gunmen enter the bakery. He escaped as they came in.
“They were shooting in the air. They didn’t shoot or hit anybody. Just to create fear,” Reza told Boishakhi TV.
“The guests were all lying on the ground under the chairs and tables. And we (the employees) escaped in whichever safe way we could. Some went to the roof, others went to other safe spots.”
Shortly after, Reza said, the gunmen started throwing explosives, one after another. “We thought it wasn’t safe anymore and jumped from the roof,” he said.
In his office nearby, Ataur Rahman said he heard a series of gunshots as people raced for cover, some yelling that the gunmen were shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
When police arrived, the gunmen shot and threw explosives at officers.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attack, according to its media branch, Amaq. But some U.S. officials doubted the claim.