Obama writes to Abe, condemns Dhaka terror attack

Tokyo: US President Barack Obama has condemned the July 1 terror attack in the Bangladeshi capital which claimed the lives of 18 foreign nationals, including seven Japanese, and in a letter on Friday to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Washington stands with Dhaka, Tokyo and the international community in its fight against terrorism.

Obama, in a condolence letter to Abe, wrote: “I join you in condemning this horrific attack that claimed so many innocent lives.”

The July 1 attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in the diplomatic zone of Dhaka left nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, two Bangladeshis, one Bangladshi-origin US man and two police officials dead.

The Japanese victims were identified as Makoto Okamura, 32, Yuko Sakai, 42, Rui Shimodaira, 27, Hideki Hashimoto, 65, Nobuhiro Kurosaki, 48, Hiroshi Tanaka, 80, and Koyo Ogasawara, 56.

“On behalf of the American people, I send my heartfelt and deepest condolences to the families and friends of the seven Japanese killed in the heinous attack.”

Obama also hoped for speedy recovery of the Japanese citizens who was injured when seven gunmen, who claimed to be from the Islamic State militant group, stormed the cafe and took more than 40 people hostage.

In a 50-minute-long “Operation Thunderbolt”, the Bangladeshi Army on July 2 morning rescued at least 13 people, including one Japanese and two Sri Lankan nationals.

Six terrorists were killed in the operation while another was captured alive.

The Japanese nationals worked for Tokyo-based construction consultancy Almec Corp.

“This attack is an outrage, all the more so because your citizens were in Dhaka building a better future for Bangladesh,” said the letter posted on Japan’s Foreign Ministry website.