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Bangladesh terror cafe reopens in new location

A Bangladesh cafe has reopened, six months after Islamic extremists killed 22 people during a hostage siege.

The Holey Artisan Bakery welcomed its first customers on Tuesday after opening in a “more secure” location.

The smaller cafe, in a shopping mall, is just a few blocks from the building where five armed men took dozens of diners hostage on 1 July last year.

The attack, claimed by so-called Islamic State, left 18 foreigners and four Bangladeshis dead.

The victims included nine Italians, seven Japanese, a US citizen and one Indian.

The country’s authorities have said the attack was carried out by a local Islamist group and not IS.

The 10-hour siege, during which victims were shot or hacked to death, was seen by some as the culmination of a three-year long campaign of murders by Islamist extremists whose targets included foreigners, rights activists and members of religious minorities.

In its wake, a large number of Dhaka’s small ex-pat community fled.

But those who stayed welcomed the cafe’s reopening, with more than 1,200 people liking the announcement of Holey Artisan Bakery’s return on Facebook.

“Feels like a tiny life renewal for Dhaka,” posted expat Marilyn Watson, calling it a “joyful welcoming place”.

The cafe’s owners – who plan to turn the former lakeside building into a home for themselves – said they had received “overwhelming” support in reopening the cafe.

“We’ve reopened as we don’t want to be held back by fear. The people’s support has been overwhelming,” Ali Arsalan told AFP.

Since the deadly assault, security forces have killed around 50 Islamist militants, including a man the police described as the siege mastermind, who died in a raid in August.

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