A group of terrorists barged into a popular eatery in the capital’s diplomatic quarter and held people at gunpoint for hours. They executed 20 hostages, shot dead two police officers and injured many more before a joint raid, dubbed “Operation Thunderbolt” brought the siege to an end on Saturday morning.
During the commando operation, six of the militants were killed and another was captured. Thirteen hostages, including a Japanese and two Sri Lankans, were rescued.
8:45pm: Several terrorists, armed with pistols, assault rifle and sharp weapons, enter the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan-2. Witnesses report hearing gunshots and explosions.
9:30pm: Dhaka Tribune receives unconfirmed reports of severe gunfire exchange in Gulshan.
10:00pm: Police constables Pradip and Alamgir and a civilian are shot by terrorists.
10:30pm: Explosion heard from inside the restaurant.
10:55pm: Bakery supervisor Sumon Reza, who managed to escape, says the attackers appeared to be below 30 and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ when they entered. There were at least 20 foreigners inside during the attack.
11:20pm: RAB chief Benazir Ahmed rushes to the spot, says they are trying to contact the terrorists. He urges TV channels to stop live broadcast citing security reasons.
As news of the siege spreads, the world’s attention turns to Gulshan and the leading media outlets start covering the incident in depth.
12:05am: Banani police station OC Salahuddin Ahmed, injured in the attack, dies.
12:10am: US describes the situation as “very fluid, very live.”
1:02am: Gulshan police OC Sirajul Islam rushed to hospital in a critical condition. At least 20 more policemen are injured.
1:10am: Injured DB Assistant Commissioner Rabiul Islam succumbs to his injuries.
1:33am: ISIS claims responsibility for Gulshan attack, SITE’s Rita Katz says quoting Amaq.
2:55am: SWAT rescues the restaurant’s Argentine chef Diego and its in-house electrician Belarus from an adjacent building.
3:14am: ISIS claims 24 killed and 40 others injured in the attack.
3:53am: Gunshots are heard again from inside the restaurant.
4:03am: Law enforcers take away an injured man from the site. Sources say he is a suspect.
4:10am: Italian state TV report quoting Italian ambassador in Dhaka says seven Italians are at the restaurant and that they could be among the hostages or the victims.
4:53am: Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal goes to the spot, eight hours after the terrorists stormed the restaurant popular with foreigners.
06:15am: Law enforcers say they are ready to launch a rescue operation.
7:30am: A joint strike team, led by para commandos, storms the restaurant and secures the area within 12-13 minutes.
8:30am: “Operation Thunderbolt” ends.
Thirteen hostages, including three foreigners, are rescued. Six gunmen are killed and one suspect arrested. Bodies of 20 executed hostages found, most of them killed with sharp weapons.
11:35am: Four men, believed to be restaurant employees, are handcuffed and taken away by DB, a Dhaka Tribune correspondent reports from the site.
12:56pm: Rescued hostages taken to DB headquarters.
1:39pm: Bodies of those executed are at the CMH, Brig General Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury, director military operations, tells the media.