As a people, as a Nation and as a country we are shell shocked at the brutality of the terrorist attack that killed twenty two people at the Holey Restaurant on Friday night. We have no words to express the sorrow that has engulfed us and the sense of revulsion at these killers that overwhelms us. The injustice of it all is unbearable.
Our heart reaches out to all the people who have lost their loved ones, especially to the families of foreign citizens who had come to Bangladesh. We express our deepest sorrow and condolences to each of the families of the twenty people who were so gruesomely killed by the terrorists on the night of July 1. We also extend our condolences to the families of the two police officers who laid down their lives in trying to resist the attackers and sincerely acknowledge their bravery and devotion to duty.
Seven extremists entered and took over the Holey Bakery in the Gulshan area of the capital city and carried out a massacre the likes of which Bangladesh had never seen before. Their action obviously provokes the question that what sort of thinking can turn any human being into such heartless creatures. It was shocking to learn that after end of 'Operation Thunderbolt', the name of the joint operation, that comprised elements of army, navy, air force, RAB and the police, we are confronted with the grisly spectacle of 20 people done to death in such inhuman manner bearing the hallmark of methods that we have seen employed by the IS in Syria and Iraq.
The purpose of these terrorist is quite clear. It is to create a sense of fear in the minds of the people, particularly the expatriates, and draw international attention to them. Going by their lethal preparation, it would seem that the terrorists were geared up for a pitched battle, which became clear when the police had initially tried to mount an assault in the early stages of the hostage situation. That resulted in the deaths of two senior policemen and many more injured, whose numbers are not clear yet.
We are relieved to learn that 13 hostages were rescued unharmed, including 1 Japanese and 2 Sri Lankan nationals. The attack is a major blow to Bangladesh's image. We had reasonably countered the threat of extremism so long, and although there have been a spate of targeted killings in the recent past we had been able to prevent any large-scale attempt until now.
Friday's mayhem brings some new and striking realities to the fore. Our usual response “these are isolated incidents” have proven to be false. The targeted killings and now this massacre may not be organically linked but that they form a part of bigger and more sinister should not be doubted any more. The new realities must galvanise new thinking on our part to the fight the terrorist menace that does not seem to stem in spite of our efforts so far. The message from last Friday's brutal killing is clear; our efforts so far have been inadequate. We need to sharpen our efforts in every sense of the term.