July 1, 2016|1:38 pm

(Photo: Reuters/Ashikur Rahman/File Photo)Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka, March 8, 2016.

DHAKA Gunmen attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in the diplomatic quarter of the Bangladeshi capital on Friday and the U.S. State Department said there was a hostage situation.

U.S. President Barack Obama has not been briefed about the crisis.

Three policemen were wounded by gunfire that erupted as police surrounded the Holey Artisan restaurant in the upscale Gulshan area of Dhaka, a police officer said.

He said there were foreigners inside the restaurant and that police were preparing a plan to enter the premises.

The U.S. State Department said on Twitter that there was a hostage situation in the diplomatic enclave of Dhaka.

Speaking from his house in the area, a witness said he could hear gunfire and that the situation "looked quite bad".

A series of deadly attacks, mostly using machetes rather than guns, have targeted bloggers, atheists and religious minorities in Bangladesh in recent months.

(Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Catherine Evans)