In aftermath of Dhaka attacks, Bangladesh seeks international assistance in fighting extremism
Bangladeshi security forces deploy in Dhaka. (AFP/File)
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Bangladesh has sought international assistance to fight terrorism after the last week's attacks on a restaurant in Dhaka where suspected militants killed 20 hostages and two security officials, the government said on Tuesday.
"The government is determined to thwart terrorism at any cost. We are calling for assistance from neighbouring and friendly countries to this end," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters in Dhaka.
Bangladesh will accept offers on counter-terrorism assistance, he said, adding that security across Bangladesh had been beefed up after the country's deadliest extremist attack.
Troops stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in Dhaka's Gulshan diplomatic quarter early Saturday and recovered the bodies of 20 civilians: nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, two Bangladeshis and one US citizen.
The militants, who hacked the civilians to death inside the restaurant, were killed during the operation.
At a meeting with foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali gave a briefing on the post-attack situation and assured them on the security situation in Bangladesh.
"Terrorism is a global challenge and Dhaka will continue to work closely with other countries, regional bodies and the UN to fight off the menace," he said after the meeting.
He also said the law enforcement agencies are on alert and security measures have been strengthened further after the attack.
The attack was claimed by Daesh, but Bangladesh rejects this claim, saying the attackers were all home-grown.
Home Minister Ahmed said that the relatives of the attackers had identified them. All of them are members of local extremist organizations outlawed by the government, he added.
US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Prime Minister Hasina on Sunday to offered Bangladesh US assistance to stamp out extremism and militancy.
A plane carrying the bodies of the seven Japanese victims arrived in Japan early Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and other officials offered prayers and flowers for the victims after the government plane landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
Also on board were family members of the victims.
Tamaoki Watanabe, among 13 people rescued, returned to Tokyo on another plane earlier and was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound.
An Italian government plane carrying the bodies of the 9 Italian victims of the attack landed in Rome at around 7 pm (1700 GMT).
The plane was met by the families of the victims as well as President Sergio Mattarella and Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
By Nazrul Islam and Takehiko Kambayashi