This article is being republished from the Dhaka Tribune's archive on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Holey Artisan attack
The members of New Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (New JMB) attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, 2016 with an aim of killing as many foreigners as possible.
Tamim Chowdhury alias Talha, the mastermind of the attack who was killed in Narayanganj during a police operation last year, and his aides visited the bakery multiple times and gathered all information about the place before conducting the attack as they wanted to affect maximum harm and panic.
The militants picked up Holey Artisan as it was comparatively less secure and foreigners used to frequent the place in groups.
The location of the bakery was also a reason why the militants attacked it, said the officials of police and Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) who are investigating the case.
The case statement of Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, another mastermind of Holey Artisan attack, says the attack was planned in February, 2016 in a rented home at Saghata upazila in Gaibandha.
Rajib’s six aides - Tamim Chowdhury, Major Zahid, Sarwar Jahan alias Abdur Rahman alias Manik, Tarek, Nurul Islam Marjan and Shariful Islam Khalid helped him to make the master plan of the attack.
Tamim Chowdhury coordinated the attack. Monirul Islam, deputy inspector general (DIG) of police and also the chief of CTTC unit, told the Bangla Tribune: “The militants decided to attack Holey Artisan because it was easier for them to enter the bakery for its poor security.
“The bakery had a lake beside it. So, police could not attack the militants from that side. This was well planned attack and the bakery was the most convenient spot for them to conduct the attack.”
On July 1, 2016, five gunmen entered Holey’s sprawling premises, next to Gulshan 2 lake, and opened fire on customers dining in the garden and took the rest hostage.
The militants killed 20 persons including 16 Italian and Japanese nationals, two policemen, an Indian, a Bangladeshi-American and three Bangladeshis. Later, a special team of Bangladesh army stormed the restaurant at dawn and killed the militants.