Indian teenager among 20 victims in Dhaka cafe siege

New DelhiUpdated: Jul 02, 2016, 01:17 PM IST

Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, said more than 20 people had been killed. Photograph:(Getty)

An Indian teenager was among 20 foreigners who were killed after being taken hostage by a group of attackers at an upmarket cafe in Bangladesh capital Dhaka, a government minister said Saturday.

Tarushi Jain, 19, was caught up in the horrific 11-hour siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery, a Western-style cafe popular with foreigners located in the diplomatic quarter of the capital.

"I am extremely pained to share that the terrorists have killed Tarushi, an Indian girl who was taken hostage in the terror attack in Dhaka," India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj posted on Twitter.

Swaraj said she had spoken to the girl's grief-stricken father and conveyed her condolences to him.

"The country is with them in this hour of grief," she tweeted.

Jain had finished her schooling from the American School in Dhaka and was pursuing her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Swaraj added.

WION sources say she was on vacation in Dhaka, where her father has run a garment business for the last 15-20 years. India is assisting family members travelling to Bangladesh.

Sources also revealed that an Indian man, Dr Satyapal, was among the hostages rescued Saturday morning. Being fluent in Bengali, he was able to pass off as Bangladeshi and was safely released Saturday morning. 

The Bangladesh army said most of the slain civilians were either Italian or Japanese, and that many had been hacked to death with sharpened weapons.

WION sources said that of the 20 victims, seven to 10 were Italian, and an unconfirmed number include Japanese and South Koreans. Of the people rescued Saturday morning, seven are Bangladeshi and one is an Indian, Dr Satyapal.

In the hospital undergoing treatment are two Sri Lankans, a Japanese and an Italian. Of the terrorists, six have been killed and one was apprehended alive. 

About 10-12 Bangladeshi restaurant staff were rescued in the morning, and have been segregated by police for interrogation.

?The Italian embassy is not releasing the identity of the Italian victims at least until their families reach Dhaka.

But another Italian named Jacopo Bioni, a 34-year-old from Verona, managed to escape with an Argentinian chef named Diego Rossini. Rossini moved to Dhaka only in January, and was only working in the restaurant Friday because another Argentinian chef was on leave.

Rossini told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that in the rush to flee he left his mobile phone and wallet in the restaurant, and went on to describe his harrowing escape:

"I was working in the kitchen when a group of Italian friends came. They are wholesalers in clothes, fabrics and garments. And they are usual customers of the restaurant. I went to speak with the Italian fellas sitting there. They asked for a special pasta, so I had to go to the kitchen. Then I heard people shouting and some shooting, and while I tried to get out of the kitchen I saw a young man with an automatic weapon who was walking towards the table where my Italian friends were sitting. So I ran away together with Diego and other colleagues to the opposte direction to the backdoor of the kitchen where there is an emergency stairs that goes to the roof on the second floor. Then they started shooting in our direction and they launched grenades. That was the moment when we decided to jump down from the second floor."

They reached a nearby building to safety.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the attack in a post on Twitter.

"The attack in Dhaka has pained us beyond words. I spoke to (Bangladesh) PM Sheikh Hasina and strongly condemned the despicable attack," the Prime Minister tweeted. 

(AFP and WION)