The six Islamic State attackers who killed 20 foreigners in a Dhaka cafe in the early hours July 2, are all children of Bangladesh’s economic elite.
Hours after the attack, ISIS released the attacker video tributes, revealing six young men who attended elite private schools in the country’s capital city of Dhaka. Several also attended the most elite private universities in Bangladesh or went abroad for further study. Fifty-one percent of Bangladeshis are classified as “in poverty” by the United Nations Multi-Dimensional Poverty index. The country has struggled with sluggish economic development and rural poverty for years.
One of the attackers was reportedly the son of a major political figure in Bangladesh, shocking the country’s political elite. Kazi Anis Ahmed, publisher of The Dhaka Tribune, told The New York Times “these kids from very affluent families with no material want can still be turned to this kind of ideology, motivated not just to the point of killing but also want to be killed.”
Meer Hayet Kabir, father of one of the terrorists and prominent businessman in Dhaka, told The New York Times he believes his son was radicalized at his elite private school, Scholastica. Two of the other terrorists were also students at Scholastica. Many of the terrorists were reported missing by their families in the months prior to the attack. During this interim period, it is likely they underwent training and filmed their final tributes to ISIS.
Bangladeshi General Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune, the hostages were killed execution style with “sharp objects” indicating they may have been tortured. An employee of the restaurant who managed to flee, told the Tribune one of the terrorists was wielding a sword.
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