Saiful is remembered by regular customers to the Holey Artisan Bakery as the chef who dished out “mini pizzas”. They were surprised on Sunday, when his pictures were released by the police as one of the dead attackers. Wearing a white apron, he was shot dead during the counter-terror operation.
Now, four days after the terror attack in Dhaka, the police on Tuesday admitted that Saiful may have been killed by mistake.
“We killed six people in the restaurant. A case has been registered against five. The sixth man was a restaurant employee. He may not be involved,” Saiful Islam, a Bangladesh police official, who is investigating the attack, was quoted by Reuters and Bangladesh local media. He also added that investigation was ongoing.
Confusion had remained over the number of terrorists ever since the attack ended. While police had said six people had been killed during the gunfight, the Islamic State had released pictures of five young men. One terrorist, who is seriously injured, is being treated at the hospital.
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About two days ago, Saiful’s family at Narhia in Shariatpur, whose photo police had released as one of the Gulshan attackers, had come forward and said that he is not a terrorist.
On Sunday, Saiful’s wife Sonia Akter, who is seven months into pregnancy, said she spoke to her husband for the last time on Friday afternoon. She had found his phone switched off later on.
His mother Samera Begum had said Saiful was scheduled to return home during the Eid holidays.
Saiful, his family had said, had joined the bakery as a pizza maker one-and-a-half years ago, after having worked in Germany for around 10 years.
Even as these facts had come to light, there was suspicion that Saiful may have been involved with the attackers — a claim that has been refuted by the family so far.
A combination photo of an elderly woman holding a mobile phone displaying the picture of a man, wearing a chef’s attire, and the dead attacker’s picture has appeared on the social media.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Bangladesh foreign ministry briefed diplomats from about 50 missions about the terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of citizens from Italy, Japan, India and the United States.
The government on Tuesday reiterated and dismissed claims by the Islamic State, which had claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack.
Diplomats attending the briefing were not only assured of strengthened security cover, but were also assured of a speedy investigation. US, Italy and Japan, along with India, have also offered support and cooperation in the investigations during the meeting, sources said, adding that some of these countries are already working with the investigative agencies in Bangladesh.