South Bay Bangladeshi community shocked at Dhaka terror attack

The shock of the Dhaka terror attack reached through the phone lines and social media to Silicon Valley residents from Bangladesh.

Friday night's bombing and hostage standoff lasted more than 10 hours into Saturday morning and ended with Bangladesh commandos storming the restaurant where at least six militants died and 13 people were rescued. Police say they found five bodies inside and some militants were captured.

Helal Chaudhury of San Jose was on the phone with his sister, when the attack began in the Gulshan neighborhood where she lives.

"I was talking with her and then she heard something, something going on," Chaudhury said.

The attack started about 9:20 Friday night. Witnesses say gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in the upscale neighborhood and diplomatic enclave where many foreigners live and work in nearby embassies. They reportedly took 35 hostages, 20 of those were foreigners.

Fremont resident Quazi Shahriar Rahman says his brother was working at an office across the street from the restaurant when the terrorists attacked.

"He was about to finish his work and immediately he heard the bomb," Rahman said, "He was terrified, very terrified."

Rahman and Chaudhury are leaders in the Bay Area Bangladesh Association. Members gathered in San Jose Friday evening, stunned by the unfolding crisis.

Witnesses say the attackers threw bombs and fired at security forces. Two officers were killed. 25 other officers and one civilian were taken to the hospital with bullet wounds and broken bones.

"We have 100 percent of American citizens under chief admission authority but I can't say with great certainty of everyone's condition," said John Kirby, a State Dept. spokesman.

An ISIS agency said Islamic State commandos were responsible and posted graphic photos online claiming to show foreigners killed inside.

Bangladesh commandos launched a rescue operation early Saturday morning, rescuing some hostages in another gunfight.

The terror attack was seemingly calculated to maximize destruction.

Bangladesh is a Muslim country and Silicon Valley residents from Bangladesh say during Ramadan, many Muslims fast during the day and go out to eat after sundown.

"You get the whole restaurant packed with people and somebody has taken advantage of that timing. It's so unfortunate for all of us. In our lifetime we have never seen this kind of incident in Dhaka," said Muhammad Zaman of San Jose.

Information was scarce as the Bangladesh government reportedly shut down Internet access during the standoff.

At the South Bay Islamic Association center in San Jose Friday night, hundreds of people came to break their fasts. After the regular prayer, the entire congregation said a special prayer for Dhaka, hoping for peace.