About two dozen athe­ist writ­ers, pub­lish­ers, mem­bers of re­li­gious mi­nori­ties, so­cial ac­tivists and for­eign aid work­ers have been slain since 2013.”

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Is­lamic State group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, ac­cord­ing to the SITE In­tel­li­gence Group, which mon­i­tors ji­hadist ac­tiv­ity on­line. The Amaq news agency, af­fil­i­ated with IS, also posted pho­tos pur­port­edly show­ing hostages’ bodies. The au­then­tic­ity of the images could not be con­firmed.

With the sound of gun­fire and ex­plo­sions, lo­cal TV sta­tions re­ported that the res­cue op­er­a­tion be­gan at 7:40 a.m. It in­cluded army per­son­nel with au­to­matic weapons and at least seven ar­moured ve­hi­cles and am­bu­lances. The at­tack­ers did not re­spond to au­thor­i­ties’ calls for ne­go­ti­a­tion, Ma­sud said.

On Fri­day evening, many peo­ple headed to the pop­u­lar bak­ery and restaurant that serves Span­ish food and is pa­tron­ized by res­i­dents of Gul­shan, an af­flu­ent neigh­bor­hood where most of the for­eign em­bassies are lo­cated. The restaurant over­looks a lake and on pleas­ant evenings, din­ers of­ten chose to eat out­doors. thought it was some­one tak­ing shel­ter in the restaurant’s door­way.

“Then I saw that he had weapons. On see­ing that, I ran to­ward the back of the restaurant. He fired while I was run­ning but I was not sure if he was tar­get­ing me be­cause I did not look back,” the sur­vivor said.

He said he ran and told ev­ery­one work­ing in­side the bak­ery, and many peo­ple ran out us­ing the back door.

“Those who could not hear me, or un­der­stand me, did not leave be­cause this hap­pened in a short span of time,” he said.

Rezaul Karim, the fa­ther of a Bangladeshi busi­ness­man who was res­cued along with his family, said the at­tack­ers did not harm any hostage who could re­cite verses from the Is­lamic holy book, Quran.

Karim said his son, Has­nat, had gone to the restaurant along with his wife and two chil­dren to cel­e­brate the birth­day of his el­der daugh­ter when the at­tack hap­pened. “He told me, ‘Please

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