World leaders condemn 'heinous' attack in Bangladesh

SINGAPORE/DHAKA • Singapore has joined several world leaders in condemning a terrorist attack on an upscale Dhaka cafe that saw several foreigners slain.

"There can be no justifications for such heinous actions," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said yesterday in a statement.

The MFA said it has verified the safety of all registered Singaporeans in Dhaka.

"Thus far, there are no reports of any Singaporeans injured or directly affected by the incident," it added.

It also urged Singaporeans currently in the South Asian nation "to exercise vigilance and follow the instructions of the Bangladeshi authorities".

Foreigners, along with locals, were taken hostage, with some murdered by militants at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka on Friday night, before elite commandos moved in hours later and shot dead six of seven attackers.

Italians, Japanese and at least one Indian are so far known to be among those who died in the attack.

Italy's foreign minister confirmed that nine Italians were killed and another was unaccounted for.

"We have identified nine (Italians) killed. There is another person who is missing and could be hiding himself or could be among wounded people... We are looking for him," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters.

In a brief TV address, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi mourned his nation's "painful loss".

"We are like a family which has suffered a painful loss," Mr Renzi said in Rome. The attackers who believed they were "destroying our values" would not get a drop of encouragement from Italy, he added.

A Japanese government official said its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had told Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by phone that several Japanese nationals may have been inside, as Tokyo dispatched Vice-Foreign Minister Seiji Kihara to Dhaka to gather information.

India confirmed that one of its nationals, Ms Tarushi Jain, a 19-year-old student at the University of California, Berkeley, was among the dead.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the attack in a post on Twitter.

"The attack in Dhaka has pained us beyond words.

"I spoke to (Bangladesh) PM Sheikh Hasina and strongly condemned the despicable attack," he wrote.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 03, 2016, with the headline 'World leaders condemn 'heinous' attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe