Homeland Security

Miami College Student Among 20 Hostages Tortured, Killed in Bangladesh Cafe

A Miami college student was among 20 hostages killed when ISIS terrorists stormed a bakery cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Friday.

ISIS’ Amaq news agency, which published gruesome photos of victims in the Holey Artisan Bread restaurant as the siege unfolded and today released smiling photos of five terrorists, said its jihadists followed protocol to “make sure of their identity and release the Muslims.”

The Dhaka Tribune reported that witnesses said eight gunmen stormed the restaurant at 8:45 p.m. Bangladesh officials said the number was seven. Six of those were killed and one was captured.

One of the gunmen encountered an employee on the restaurant patio and asked if he was Muslim. The worker replied he was. “Run,” the gunman told him before they locked the doors of the eatery, set off explosives and began opening fire.

Police responded soon afterward, and two were killed when they were greeted with grenades and gunfire.

The restaurant manager and some staff escaped by heading to the roof and jumping off the second story. Bangladesh’s ATN News channel reported that gunmen turned off the lights and covered the security cameras before dealing with about three dozen remaining.

The terrorists then asked the hostages to recite the Quran. Those who were able to do so were spared and even, according to one rescued hostage’s father, were given a meal to break the Ramadan fast. The rest were tortured.

Amaq said the ISIS terrorists used “knives, machetes, automatic rifles and hand grenades.” Nine Italians and seven Japanese were among the dead.

“The terrorists used sharp weapons to kill them brutally,” Brig. Gen. Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury of the Army Headquarters confirmed in a news conference.

Thirteen hostages were rescued in a raid that Bangladesh authorities called Operation Thunderbolt.

The State Department confirmed that one U.S. citizen was killed in the carnage. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said it was his constituent, Abinta Kabir, who was visiting family and friends in Dhaka.

Emory University lost two students in the attack: Kabir, of Miami, and  Faraaz Hossain, from Dhaka. “The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of two members of our university family,” the school said in a press release. “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.”

Tarishi Jain, an Indian national who was studying at University of California at Berkeley, was also among the dead. Her father lives in Dhaka, and was keeping vigil outside the police perimeter during the standoff. She had begun a summer internship in the city last month. A vigil will be held on campus Tuesday, the university said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered flags flown at half-staff on Sunday in Kabir’s honor. “When one American is attacked, our entire nation is attacked. We must immediately do everything we can to eliminate ISIS. We cannot afford to see more lives lost at the hands of terrorists,” Scott said, referencing the June 12 Orlando attack.

The White House issued a statement condemning the attack “in the strongest terms.”

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those wounded,” said the statement from press secretary Josh Earnest. “This is a despicable act of terrorism, and the United States stands with Bangladesh and the international community in our resolve to confront terrorism wherever it occurs.”

The terrorists were homegrown — Bangladeshis who were already on cops’ radar.

“From Paris to Brussels to Istanbul to now Dhaka, terrorists continue to answer the call to murder innocent civilians in the name of the Islamic State,” Rubio said. “Under President Obama’s watch this scourge has metastasized due to failed policies that insufficiently address the root cause of this problem. Without a substantial change in posture, I fear we will only see more attacks like we have today.”

One of the Bangladesh terrorists, in a photo released by ISIS' Amaq news agency.

One of the Bangladesh terrorists, in a photo released by ISIS’ Amaq news agency.