Saturday, July 2, 2016

ISIS claims credit for massacre and hostage situation in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A wounded police officer is taken from the scene of the attack. Reuters. 

ISIS has taken credit for a hostage situation that ended in bloodshed in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Reuters. 20 hostages and police were killed by militants at a high end restaurant frequented by foreigners. ISIS immediately took credit for the attack, though their claims have not been substantiated. Gunmen stormed the restaurant and ordered all Bangladeshi citizens to stand up and then began to kill foreigners. Most of the dead hostages were killed by sharp weapons and 6 of the gunmen were killed by the police. One was also arrested. 13 hostages were rescued by the police. ISIS has posted photos that purport to be from the scene of the attack showing bloody bodies and death. Bangladesh has seen a streak of ISIS related attacks, mostly knife murders by lone wolf style supporters. 

My Comment:
Yet another ISIS attack, and another during Ramadan. Along with the Pulse nightclub shooting, the attack on police officers in France and the Istanbul airport bombing, ISIS is making this year's Ramadan just as bloody as last year. And there are still a couple days left in Ramadan...

This attack was horrifying. I saw the pictures from the restaurant and they were about as terrible as you can imagine. Just bodies in massive pools of blood. It seems as though ISIS executed as many of the foreign citizens as possible. They came from Italy, Japan, South Korea, India and Bangladesh as well. 

I've been reading rumors that the ISIS fighters made people recite passages from the Koran. If they weren't able to ISIS murdered them. I even heard rumors that they tortured their victims first. Of course this is Twitter tier gossip and I doubt it is reliable. What we know for sure is that ISIS specifically targeted Westerners and Asians. And we know that they killed them for no other reason except their country of origin. 

I wonder if this attack was inspired by the Pulse nightclub shooting? After all in that case a mass shooting turned into a hostage situation and 49 people died. This attack wasn't quite so successful but I am worried that the terrorists are learning. Terror attacks are much more effective if they target a soft target like a restaurant or nightclub. So often terrorists have gone after harder targets like tourist attractions and airports. Though those attacks can be deadly as well, taking over a smaller soft target ensures that you have some time to kill everyone that you want to kill. 

The scary thing about these kinds of attacks is that they are very hard to prevent. Security services like the police and military can't protect every single bar and restaurant in a country. And when a place is attacked, the terrorists are in a fortified position that delays rescue efforts. If you are willing to die for your cause, taking hostages like this is a pretty good way to cause chaos. 

I hate to harp on gun rights again but this situation may have gone down differently if someone had a concealed handgun. Though fighting off 7 well armed and determined terrorists would be all but impossible for one guy with a handgun, perhaps he could have bought a bit of time for others to escape. As far as I have been able to tell though, Bangladesh doesn't have concealed carry, so it's probably a moot point. 

Bangladesh has had an uptick in ISIS activity lately. Most of those attacks weren't anywhere near as organized as this one was.  Most of those attacks are better described as lone wold attackers who self radicalized. They also took a rather different tract then most other ISIS terrorist attacks. Instead of mass shootings or bombings, they were mostly assassinations of political activists and non-Muslims, such as Hindus. The fact that such an organized attack happened in Bangladesh means that ISIS is greatly expanding their capabilities in the region.   

Some might wonder why ISIS would target the East Asians in the restaurant. After all, you don't think of South Korea or Japan when you think of countries that have interactions with Islam. But you have to remember the hirarcy that radical Muslims preach. For them, fellow Sunni Muslims are the only ones worth saving, and only if they support ISIS. Christians and Jews, people of the book, get the choice of converting, paying a tax or exile. Pagans and non-religious people, which is what ISIS would consider people from Japan and South Korea wouldn't even get that choice. Perhaps some of the East Asians murdered were Christians, but I doubt that would have mattered all that much either. 

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