Gunmen raided a popular upscale cafe located in the diplomatic area of Dhaka, Bangladeshi capital, on Friday night.

The notorious ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to officials, six to eight gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic State burst into the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe at about 21:20 (23:20 GMT) and opened fire, taking a number of hostages, including foreigners.

According to BBC, this is the first time foreigners would be held hostage in the Bangladeshi capital.

Bangladeshi police on a rescue mission invaded the building under siege early Saturday to try to free those stuck inside.

The raid to free the hostages began at 7.40 a.m. local time, about 10 hours after the siege began. The gunfire stopped about 45 minutes later.

A police officer at the scene said that when security forces tried to enter the premises at the beginning of the siege they met a hail of bullets and grenades.

In the process of invading the building with cross-fire ensuing, at least six militants were killed in the operation, while two police officers died. 30 others were also reported injured.

Seven Italians were believed to be in the cafe according to the Italian ambassador in Dhaka, Mario Palma.

A Japanese government spokesman said Tokyo was investigating reports that some of its citizens were among the hostages.

Sumon Reza, an employee of the restaurant who witnessed the attack, but escaped, told Bangladeshi media that the assailants chanted: “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) as they took hostages and detonated explosive devices.

On how the situation is being handled, Benazir Ahmed, Chief of the Rapid Action Battalion, Bangladesh’s elite police force, said: “we want to resolve this peacefully. We are trying to talk to the attackers.”

“Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.”

Security forces say they are trying to negotiate hostages’ release.

Author: Ope Adedeji