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Bangladesh mourns victims of first-ever hostage crisis
Last Updated: 2016-07-04 01:33 | Xinhua
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With all the national flags at government and semi-government offices and foreign missions down at half-mast, Bangladesh is mourning on Sunday the deaths of victims of the country's first-ever hostage crisis involving militants.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared the two-day state mourning from Sunday as a mark of respect for the victims of the country's worst-ever hostage crisis.

Hasina made the announcement in a televised address to the nation on Saturday night.

Earlier in the day, the premier condemned the attack at a restaurant in Dhaka that left 20 hostages killed.

Hasina called the incident a "militant attack."

Green and red national flags flew at half-mast on Sunday alongside black flags over all government offices.

Prayers were held as Dhaka observed the first day of mourning for the victims.

Nine Italians, seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis, a Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen and an Indian female were killed in the attack on the Spanish restaurant in Dhaka popular with foreigners.

Seven gunmen armed with blades, guns and bombs also murdered two Bangladesh police officers in the attack on Friday night.

Gunmen killed the victims soon after they stormed the Spanish restaurant -- Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave Gulshan -- in Bangladesh's worst hostage crisis, a spokesman of the Bangladesh Army had said in a media briefing on operation "Thunderbolt" that ended the 13-hour hostage crisis on Saturday.

Hasina reiterated her commitment to combat militancy and terrorism in the country.

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