Italy mourns victims of Bangladesh terror attack

Rome commemorates nine Italians killed in Dhaka attack.

Italy is mourning the nine Italians who were among 20 civilians killed during a 12-hour siege at a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on the night of 1 July.

Most of the 20 civilians killed by the group of seven militants were foreigners who were singled out and hacked to death for being unable to quote from the Qu'ran.

Two Italians managed to flee the carnage which ended when police stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in the Gulshan diplomatic district in the early hours of 2 July. Police rescued 13 hostages and captured a suspected gunman.

In addition to the 20 civilian deaths, two police officers and six militants were killed in the attack which was claimed by radical Islamist militant group ISIS. However Bangladesh's interior ministry said the attackers belonged to local outlawed militant group Jamaeytul Mujahdeen Bangladesh (JMB) and had no links to ISIS. Bangladeshi authorities also said the attackers were educated young men, from wealthy backgrounds, who saw jihad as “fashionable.”

Condemning the attack, Italian premier Matteo Renzi said that Italy is united and would not “retreat in the face of madness.” President Mattarella cut short a state visit to Latin America because of the massacre, while Pope Francis denounced the “senseless violence perpetrated against innocent victims.”

On 2 July Rome's city hall was illuminated with the Italian tricolour, on the orders of the capital's new mayor Virginia Raggi, and the Italian national football team wore black armbands, to commemorate those killed in Dhaka, during the Euro 2016 quarter final against Germany.

The Italian victims were based in Bangladesh where they worked mainly in the textile industry. They were named by Italy's foreign ministry as Adele Puglisi, Marco Tondat, Claudia Maria D'Antona, Nadia Benedetti, Vincenzo D'Allestro, Maria RiBoli, Cristian Rossi, Claudio Cappelli and Simona Monti.

In addition to the nine Italians, the civilian casualties included seven Japanese, one Indian, two Bangladeshis and one US citizen of Bangladeshi origin.