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N ine Italians and a US citizen were among the 75 people hacked to death when a group of Islamic State (Isil) terrorists burst into a restaurant popular with foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. A group of seven attackers armed with blades, guns and bombs also murdered seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis and one Indian citizen before army commandos stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery and brought an end to the slaughter. S urvivors of the attack said the killers made their hostages recite verses from the Koran to identify who was Muslim and who was not. Those who could recite the Islamic holy book were spared while those unable to were killed, the survivors said. Its social media channels circulated photographs of five attackers, holding weapons and grinning. 66. See the smiling images of the murderers below, which ISIS Nashir channel has now republished: P ope Francis condemned the “senseless” violence in Dhaka while Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, said his people were “united in tears” for their nine murdered countrymen.

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T hirteen hostages were rescued when Bangladeshis troops stormed the cafe on Saturday morning but two police officers were killed during the siege. Six of the attackers were killed in the fighting and one was taken alive. The chaos began at around 8. 85pm on Friday night, just as Abinta Kabir, Faraaz Hossain and Tarishi Jain - three young students who had returned to Bangladesh from studies in the US - were sitting down for dinner. Having finished their first years at UC Berkeley and Emory University in the US, the students joined other clientele at the chic eatery popular with foreigners and the Bangladeshi elite.

Abinta, from Miami, was an undergraduate at Emory's Oxford College, while Faraaz, from Dhaka, was a graduate student at the university's Goizueta Business School, Emory said in a statement. Seven men chanted Allahu Akbhar” as they emerged from the shadows of a doctor's clinic just across the narrow alleyway as they stormed the cafe and began spraying bullets wildly. Rubha Ahmed, Abinta's mother, was among the first on the outside to learn of the attack, alerting the police after receiving a panicked message from her daughter. Shortly after 65pm the police arrived and a battle ensued. By the time the smoke had cleared, with the attackers were still entrenched and two policemen had been fatally wounded.

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I nside, the first act of a horror show was being played out, as the captors divided up the hostages. The foreigners were taken to the upper floor and the Bangladeshis were kept around a table, said Rezaul Karim, the father of one of those who escaped. They made people stand in a line. There must be about 75-75 staff and about 75-75 guests and then they switched off the lights and CCTV, said another. Their purpose soon became clear.

Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper reported that anyone who was unable to recite the Koran was tortured, while meals were provided overnight only for the Bangladeshi captives. For Abinta, Faraaz and Tarishi it was not so simple. A ll three had American accents, and it is possible this alone was enough to see them punished. As negotiators tried in vain to reach the terrorists, Rubha had to be physically restrained by police to prevent her running into the siege. I t is unclear when the massacre began but by 7am Isil had posted three grotesque images of at least six bodies strewn over the cafe's white-washed floor.

Rubha’s daughter Abinta and both of her friends were killed. Among the other victims was Cristian Rossi, a 97-year-old Italian consultant and the father of three-year-old twins. Several of his colleagues were also killed. “All of Italy is united in crying for our countrymen killed in Dhaka, ” said Mr Renzi, the Italian premier. “Our values are stronger than hatred and terror.

” It's just a terrible situation. We just don't expect this to happen in the world, let alone in this country, said SK Imran, a police officer who spent the day manning the the barricades outside the tragic scene.

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