Dhaka attackers separated Muslims from non-Muslim hostages

The attackers in Dhaka, Bangladesh separated the hostages into Muslims and non-Muslims. The Muslims were allowed to leave or at least to survive while non-Muslims were stabbed or hacked to death.

CNN has a detailed story describing how the attack took place with details told by survivors. When a group of attackers carrying guns barged into the bakery a little before 9pm, many of the employees rushed up the stairs and escaped via the roof. Meanwhile, the remaining hostages were sorted by the attackers:

In a perverse gesture, the gunmen separated the Muslims from the non-Muslims. The Muslims were given food and water. As dawn approached, the attackers ordered the remaining staff to prepare a meal so the Muslims could eat before beginning their Ramadan fast.

The non-Muslims didn’t fare as well.

Images posted on an ISIS-affiliated media site and purported to be from the cafe attack showed bloody victims lying amid overturned tables and chairs, next to meals half eaten. One young woman’s white dinner napkin still covered her chest. CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the photos.

The attackers told Hossain, the American college student, that he could leave along with some hijab-wearing women — but his two female friends couldn’t. Hossain decided to stay behind to be with them, survivors later told his family.

The New York Times reports the attackers reassured the Muslim hostages that they would only kill foreigners:

Even as they killed the foreigners, the attackers were unfailingly polite and solicitous with the restaurant staff and other Bangladeshis, Mr. Barai said.

They took the staff into their confidence, complaining that foreigners, with their skimpy clothes and taste for alcohol, were impeding the spread of Islam. “Their lifestyle is encouraging local people to do the same thing,” a militant said…

Mr. Barai recalls being puzzled by the attackers, who spoke cosmopolitan Bengali, and even some English, when conversing with the foreigners.

“They were all smart and handsome and educated,” he said. “If you look at those guys, nobody could believe they could do this.” In the predawn hours, the militants lectured their captives on religious practices, instructing the kitchen staff to say regular prayers and study the Quran.

The BBC reports that many of the attackers were young, well-off college students from reputable schools:

The men were are said to belong to well-to-do local families and studied in private schools and universities, not in Islamic seminaries or madrassas, where many Islamist militant groups are thought to draw recruits.

Social media has been buzzing with former classmates who have recognised some of the attackers from their pictures, says the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Dhaka.

In all, 20 people were killed inside the restaurant and 2 police officers were killed outside when the attack began.