Bangladeshis mourn cafe massacre victims

Bangladeshis on Monday paid their respects to the victims of last week’s attack on a cafe in Dhaka in which suspected Islamists killed 20 hostages and two police.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed a floral wreath at the coffins of the victims at Dhaka’s Army Stadium on the second day of national mourning.

Television footage showed the prime minister standing silent for a moment on the stage after placing flowers at the funeral caskets.

Ministers, diplomats, political leaders, relatives and friends of the victims and others paid their last respects after the premier left.

The 20 civilians comprised nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, two Bangladeshis and one US national.

They were killed by Islamist militants who took them hostage during a siege that started Friday at the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in the diplomatic district. Security forces stormed the cafe early Saturday, killing six terrorists. Two police were also killed.

Eighteen relatives of the Japanese dead and injured arrived in Bangladesh on Sunday and would recover the bodies of their loved ones before returning together with the Japanese survivor of the attack, according to Vice Foreign Minister Seiji Kihara, who was quoted by Kyodo News agency.

Thirteen hostages, mostly Bangladeshi nationals, were rescued alive during the army-led operation.  

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Bangladesh said the terrorists were home-grown.

US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Prime Minister Hasina on Sunday to convey President Barack Obama’s condolences to the families of the victims, Hasina’s press officer Ihsanul Karim told reporters.

During the phone conversation, Kerry offered Bangladesh assistance to stamp out terrorism and militancy, Karim said.

Last update: Mon, 04/07/2016 - 12:33

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