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Holey Artisan Bakery to become a family home

  • Published at 06:46 pm November 15th, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:33 pm November 15th, 2016
Holey Artisan Bakery to become a family home

The owner of the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant where Islamist extremists killed 22 hostages, mostly foreigners, said on Tuesday he will turn the building into a home for his family and reopen the eatery elsewhere.

The announcement came after police handed the Holey Artisan Bakery back to Sadat Mehdi after completing a four-month investigation into the July 1 siege by extremists.

"Police have handed over the place to us on Sunday. They've cleaned up the debris. We're now going to turn it into a residential home where we'll live," Mehdi told AFP.

Mehdi lost five friends in the attack, and said he wanted to send a message that "we are not defined by terror". He said he would open two new outlets in other parts of the city.

The restaurant in Dhaka's upscale Gulshan neighbourhood was popular with expats and the city's wealthy. Japanese and Italian diners were among the 18 foreigners shot and hacked to death in the July attack.

The bakery attack capped a three-year long murderous campaign by Islamist extremists, whose targets included foreigners, rights activists and members of religious minorities.

Bangladesh authorities have blamed a local group for the atrocity, rejecting claims by IS that it was behind the carnage. The siege went on for 10 hours before Bangladesh military commandos using armoured vehicles stormed the compound.

Since the deadly assault, security forces have killed at least 40 Islamist militants including a Bangladeshi-origin Canadian who police described as the mastermind of the attack.