Pope Francis says Bangladesh terror attack an offence against God and humanity

Published 08 July 2016  |  
Reuters
Family members of Tarishi Jain, who was killed in the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh mourn as her body is taken away for cremation in Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on July 4, 2016.

Pope Francis condemned the terrorist attack at a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 1 that killed 28 people and injured others, saying it's an offense against God and humanity.

At least eight Islamic militants stormed the Hotel Artisan Bakery cafe armed with knives, guns and explosives and attacked people inside.

"Deeply saddened by the senseless violence perpetrated against innocent victims in Dhaka, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt condolences and condemns such barbarous acts as offences against God and humanity," according to a July 2 letter signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Pope, the Catholic News Agency reported.

It added, "His Holiness gives the assurance of his prayers for the grieving families and the wounded."

The gunmen, dressed in jeans and t-shirts, entered the cafe at about 8:45 p.m. and shouted "Allahu Akbar!" or "God is great," CNN reported.

Customers hid under tables and chairs while the crew fled for safety.

Of the 21 hostages killed, nine were Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, three Bangladeshis and one U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin.

Miraj, a staffer, hid in one corner but was seen by the gunmen.

"Everyone else ran away but you couldn't make it," one of the gunmen told him. "That means God wants you to die."

Miraj was taken outside and put in a chair and tied bombs and gas canisters around him, using him as a human shield.

The terrorists separated the Muslims from non-Muslims. The Muslims were given food and water. The gunmen told the staffers to prepare a meal so the Muslims could eat before the start of the Ramadan fast.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina convened the military, paramilitary and police at 3 a.m. as the standoff had gone on long enough and decided to use force.

Government forces stormed the cafe at 5 a.m. The terrorists, pointing the bodies on the floor, said "We're going to be like them soon. See you all in heaven."

Four gunmen were killed while another was captured. The authorities rescued 13 hostages.

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