Bangladesh PM pays homage to cafe attack victims

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday paid tribute to the 20 hostages, most of them foreigners, and the two policemen who were killed in the almost 12-hour terror siege on a cafe in Dhaka on Friday evening. Monday marked the second day of national mourning after seven jihadis (six of whom were killed and one arrested) attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery, located in the Gulshan diplomatic area of Dhaka and frequented by many foreigners, on Friday. The assault, which ended on Saturday, was claimed both by the Islamic State (IS) and the Al Qaeda branch in the Indian subcontinent. Prime Minister Hasina placed a floral wreath and stood in silence for a minute to honour the victims, after a wreath was placed on behalf of President Abdul Hamid, who is currently in Bhutan on a state visit, bdnews24 reported. After paying her respects, Hasina met relatives of the victims at the ceremony held at the Army Stadium. Through the process, Hasina handed over the bodies to the relatives. The caskets were placed in a raised platform which bored the flags of India, Italy, Bangladesh, Japan and the US - commemorating the nationalities of the foreigners killed, the Daily Star said. Relatives and friends of the victims and other people poured in to pay their last tribute at scene. Envoys of India, Italy, US and Japan also paid their respects at the caskets. The caskets of three Bangladeshis were taken to Army Stadium. The rest, of foreign nationals, were kept at Combined Military Hospital, officials inside the military said. Body of the Indian national was taken away by relatives this morning. Bodies of nine Italians were being handed over around noon. The bodies of seven Japanese will be handed over later in the evening. The 20 hostages were found dead on the premises.  Thirteen hostages were rescued after the siege ended.