Photo Security personnel near a restaurant that was reportedly attacked by gunmen on Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit Associated Press Gunmen detonated explosives and took a number of people hostage at a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh, setting off a bloody standoff with the police on Friday night in the capital’s diplomatic zone.

Witnesses took to Twitter to report hearing gunfire, and posted images of armed paramilitary officers surrounding the restaurant, the Holey Artisan Bakery, which is said to be popular with expatriates, diplomats and middle-class families. It is in the city’s Gulshan neighborhood.

Local media reported that as many as 10 police officers had been shot in the standoff, and television stations broadcast footage of bloodied officers being carried on stretchers from the scene.

The total number of hostages, some of whom are believed to be citizens of Western nations, was not known. Neither were the number or identities of the attackers.

“We are requesting the ones who are inside the restaurant to talk to us, relay us your demands,” said Benazir Ahmed, the director-general of the Rapid Action Battalion, the country’s counterterrorism force, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

The United States State Department alerted American citizens in the area to the reports of shooting and a hostage situation, and advised them to “shelter in place and monitor news.”

“The situation’s ongoing, obviously — too early for us to say who’s involved, motivation, any of that stuff, it’s all still unfolding right now,” said John Kirby, the State Department spokesman.

Mr. Kirby said all American citizens working for the United States mission in Dhaka were safe and accounted for, but officials were still working to account for Bangladeshi employees.

Sumon Reza, a kitchen worker at the restaurant who escaped, told The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper, that several armed men entered the restaurant around 8:45 p.m. and took hostages.

“They blasted several crude bombs, causing wide-scale panic among everyone,” was quoted as saying. “I managed to flee during this confusion.”

Mr. Reza said the attackers were armed with pistols, swords and bombs and shouted “God is great” before detonating their explosives, the newspaper said.

Continue reading the main story