The Standoff in Bangladesh

Joseph Allchin in the New York Review of Books:

Bangladeshi-security-dhakaThe first time I walked into the Holey Bakery, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of its owners was on the verdant front lawn, a rare holdover of old-world extravagance in the country’s densely inhabited capital. Situated next to a lake in the upscale Gulshan neighborhood, the bakery and its sister restaurant, the O’Kitchen, occupied the house in which, he said, he had fallen in love with his wife. A rare venue for European food, it catered to affluent foreigners and the country’s elite; less than a dozen dimly-lit marble-topped tables stretched around impressive imported ovens inside, with a few on a terrace for use when weather allowed.

On the evening of Friday, July 1, bone marrow was on the menu, and the diners included nine Italians, most of whom were employed in the country’s garments sector, as well as a group of recent graduates of the exclusive American International School, which is just across the lake that Holey’s garden overlooks. Cristian Rossi, forty-seven, and Nadia Benedetti, fifty-two, were Italian apparel entrepreneurs saying farewell to the country. The young students enrolled in college in the United States—Tarishi Jain, nineteen, at Berkeley, and Faraaz Hossain, twenty, and Abinta Kabir, eighteen, a US citizen, both at Emory—were back for the summer holidays and celebrating a reunion of sorts.

At around 8:45 PM, however, the restaurant turned into a place of devastation and utter horror, when a siege by five—or possible six—young Islamist militants (the presence of a sixth attacker has not been ruled out), apparently affiliated with ISIS, executed these and other patrons, eighteen of them foreign nationals.

More here. [Thanks to Kazi Anis Ahmed.]