Dhaka: Heavily armed militants chanting "Allahu Akbar" asked their hostages at a popular eatery here to recite Quranic verses to know who among them were Muslims. Others were hacked to death, according to one of the many eyewitness accounts of the gory Bangladesh carnage that has shocked the world.
The Daily Star citing a father of a hostage said the militants who stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, a popular hangout for foreigners in the high-security and affluent Gulshan diplomatic zone of the Bangladesh capital, performed a religion identity check on their captives and asked them to recite the Quran.
Those who recited verses from the holy Muslim book were spared, the daily said. "The others were tortured by the gunmen," said Rezaul Karim, father of one of the hostages Hasnat Karim.
Hasnat had gone to celebrate his 13-year-old daughter's birthday along with his wife Sharmin Parvin and son Rayan, 8. The family was rescued early in the morning.
Rezaul quoting his son said the gunmen did not behave "rough with the Bangladesh nationals" and provided dinner to all of them.
He said the gunmen killed all the foreign nationals dining in the eatery by 11 Friday night. By the end, five gunmen sustained bullet injuries and "probably died".
Hasnat's mother told Bangladesh News 24 that Parvin, her daughter-in-law, was treated well "as she was wearing a hijab (veil)".
Some of the other witnesses said they saw militants, one of them armed with a sword and the others carrying "small firearms with big magazines" raiding the restaurant.
The men shouted 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great) on their way in and started firing at the dozens of guests inside – several of them foreigners, the restaurant's supervisor Sumon Reza, who managed to escape, was quoted as saying by Bangladesh News 24.
The restaurant has 50 staff but only 20 were present at the time of the attack.
A kitchen staff of the bakery, who managed to escape, said the chief chef was among the hostages. "They set off several crude bombs triggering panic."
Gruesome pictures emerged on social media showing the inside of the bakery, splattered with blood and broken furniture.