Three American students were among 20 killed by ISIS in a Bangladeshi bakery when they failed to recite passages from the Koran. The three students were Emory University’s Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain and UC Berkley’s Tarushi Jain.
The three were reportedly stabbed to death with makeshift machetes after seven ISIS terrorists came into the Holey Artisan Bakery Cafe, located in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, with guns and sharp objects. The students were among 11 men and nine women who were killed when they were unable to recite the Koran; the militants took another 13 hostage. The terrorists remained in a 12-hour standoff with police before elite troops moved into the bakery, killed the radicals, and freed the remaining hostages.
The Holey Artisan Bakery Cafe, largely filled with foreigners, was stormed by seven Islamist attackers on the evening of July 1, the final Friday of Ramadan. They used automatic weapons, bombs, and makeshift machetes to take more than 30 people hostage. The hostages were then reportedly split into two groups; the foreigners were taken upstairs while the Bangladeshis were kept around a table, according Bangladeshi resident Hasnat Karim, a witness who was interviewed by Chris Pleasance and Mia De Graaf of the Daily Mail. The terrorists then asked the hostages to recite the Koran; those who could not were tortured and killed.
After remaining in a standoff with the terrorists for more than 12 hours, elite Bangladeshi commandos eventually freed 13 hostages, in addition to the eight who had gotten away during the siege. Police also shot and killed six of the terrorists; the remaining one was arrested.
The three American students were reportedly friends who were in the bakery together. They hid out in the bathroom before being found by the terrorists and hacked to death.
Jain, 19, was a sophomore at UC Berkeley. She was intending to major in economics. The Indian national was among seven other students who were completing internships with UC Berkley’s Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, according to a statement from UC Berkeley. She was described by other students as a “beautiful soul” and a “great spirit,” according to Asia.
Kabir, 18, was from Miami, Florida. She was a sophomore at Emory University in Georgia. She had been visiting family and friends in Dhaka, according to university president Jim Wagner. Emma Louisa Jacoby, Kabir’s childhood friend, told Asia that Kabir was hardworking, athletic, and a “treasure to this world.”
Hossain, a Bangladeshi citizen, had just graduated from Emory’s Oxford College. He was supposed to start school at the university’s Goizueta Business School later this year. Rifat Mursalin, Hossain’s college friend, told CNN that he was “always very loving, caring, helpful and extremely outgoing.”
Also among the victims were nine Italians, most of whom worked in the fashion industry; seven Japanese citizens who worked in a foreign aid agency; and another Bangladeshi citizen. Two Bangladeshi police officers were also killed. Police Inspector General Shahidul Horque told CNN that all of the attackers were from Bangladesh.
“Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act,” said Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed after declaring two days of mourning for the victims. “They do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism.’
Amaq News Agency, ISIS’s media wing, has claimed responsibility for the attack and released photos of the attackers, as well as several images of victims inside the cafe.