Free Press Journal

IS owning Dhaka cafe attack ‘credible’, says Italian Minister



Rome: Italy, which lost nine of its citizens in last week’s terror attack on a cafe in the Bangladeshi capital, said on Thursday that the Islamic State militant group’s claim of responsibility for the deadly attack is “credible”.

“Our initial assessments, made with diplomats and intelligence staff, also from other countries, is that Daesh’s claim is credible,” Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told the Senate upper house of Parliament on Thursday, referring to IS’s Arabic acronym.

Nine Italians were among 20 hostages — 18 of them foreigners — slain by five Islamist militants in last Friday’s assault on the Holey Artisan bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone. Two Bangladeshi police officers, a bakery chef and five Bangladeshi gunmen also died in the 10-hour assault.

Gentiloni said Italy would pursue the IS relentlessly. “When they kill nine of our compatriots, Italy responds with unity,” he told the Senate.

“This message must be very clear and it must be a decisive response. We have to say firmly we will give Daesh and fundamentalist terrorism no respite, all the more so after this attack.”

IS claimed the attack in a video this week and earlier in a statement circulated last Friday by IS supporters on the Telegram messaging service.

IS said it targeted the citizens of “Crusader countries” in the attack, warning that citizens of such countries would be unsafe “as long as their warplanes kill Muslims”, a message similar to previous statements.

The killing of hostages in Dhaka was “a glimpse” of things to come, IS said in the video, which said a barrage of fresh terror attacks would target Bangladesh and elsewhere until an Islamic caliphate prevailed throughout the world.

Bangladesh’s government has denied IS was behind the attack and has blamed domestic militant group Jamaeytul Mujahdeen Bangladesh (JMB).