Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: July 1, 2016 Guest: Asif Islam, Zafar Sobhan, Anushay Hossain, Memoona Ahmed
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Time for THE LAST WORD. Ayman Mohyeldin is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Ayman.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Joy. Thank you very much for that. It is going to be a very busy night, not only here in New York, but also in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Right now it is Saturday morning there, nearly 11 hours since this siege essentially began. And here`s the very latest on what is taking place there. Up to nine gunmen have been holding dozens of people hostage inside the Holey Artisan Bakery. The latest report says at least 35 people are still captive inside.
The restaurant, as we know it, popular with Westerners. It is located in the city`s Gulshan neighborhood, an up-scale area, home to many of the city`s embassies. There are conflicting reports now about whether police have been able to speak to the attackers. Previous reports said the attackers were not responding to police. But Reuters is now reporting that an advisor for Bangladesh`s Prime Minister said security forces are trying to negotiate an end to the siege. The Dhaka Tribune is reporting police are using loud speakers, telling anyone who isn`t a part of the security forces to clear the area, and that security personnel should put on bullet- proof vests.
Officials says four security officers were killed in the siege. The Islamic State, through its affiliated news agency, has taken responsibility, though the State Department says it cannot confirm that claim. Officials at the hospital where the wounded are being treated say at least 26 people were injured, at least 10 people critically. The injuries range from broken bones to gunshot wounds, and that is according to officials.
Bangladesh is traditionally a moderate Muslim nation, but here has been an uptick in violence there in the past three years. The Associated Press reports that, since 2013, nearly two dozen have been murdered by attackers wielding meat cleavers and machetes. Among the slain are atheist writers, members of religious minorities, social activists, and even foreign workers.
For more, I`m joined by MSNBC foreign correspondent Matt Bradley. He is covering one terrorist attack that took place in Istanbul earlier this week. And this evening, we are, as we mentioned, learning more details about what is unfolding in Bangladesh, an attack that ISIS has claimed responsibility for.
Matt, it has been a devastating week, when you put these two terrorist attacks on the spectrum of what ISIS is capable of doing, what it has been doing. What is the assessment of ISIS`s claim of responsibility? How credible do we believe it to be right now?
MATT BRADLEY, MSNBC FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ayman, I`m not sure whether I can really evaluate whether or not this is a credible claim of responsibility. But these two incidents, I mean we`re talking about this comes only a couple of days after the incident that happened just behind me, where 44 people were killed. And, again, that`s a totally different incident. Islamic State did not claim responsibility, but the Turkish authorities really do believe that Islamic State was behind it. And it really has a lot of the fingerprints of Islamic State on it.
Again, a totally different incident on another half of the world. But they do have , one very strong similarity. And that is both of them show sightings of how this group, Islamic State, is transitioning from a sort of pseudo state that governs a kind of self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, into a more traditional just terrorist organization in the mold of Al Qaeda. And that`s because Islamic State has been facing a lot of pressures on the battlefield. They`ve had successive military defeats, and not just in Iraq and Syria, but also in Libya.
And so this task of governing their self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria has become so onerous they`re actually sort of transitioning into a more of an Al Qaeda-like group where they`re just launching the street attacks against -- well, this cafe in Bangladesh, and this airport behind me, Ataturk International, here in Istanbul. Ayman.
MOHYELDIN: All right. MSN -- MSNBC`s Matt Bradley, live for us in Istanbul, covering not only the attack there, but also putting in context for us what is unfolding in Bangladesh this evening.
We want to now cross over to Bangladesh. We`re joined on the phone, by Asif Islam, claiming editor at the Dhaka Tribune, where it`s now just after 8:00 am. He`s been up all night, following this. Obviously, this siege as it`s been unfolding. Asif, it`s good to have you with us. I know it`s been a very long night for you, and certainly for the people of Bangladesh. What can you tell us what is unfolding now with daybreak in Dhaka? What is the situation there? Describe for us what is unfolding as you see it, or as you`ve heard about it from your sources.
ASIF ISLAM, DHAKA TRIBUNE: So a lot has been happening, just in the last 20 minutes. It`s about 8:00 am in Dhaka this morning. Since 7:40, we`re told that gunfire has been heard. Eight or nine explosions have been heard. Our correspondent on the ground has told us that the armed forces are on the move, and that the police action to breach the compound has in fact begun. I just want to add something. This is not, this is something that I hadn`t mentioned earlier. But it`s probably worth noting that this, this hostage crisis has been at the center of attention. It`s a very, very major attack. It`s a, it`s a major situation involving possibly foreigners and, unfortunately, probably a lot of bloodshed.
But it`s worth noting that yesterday a Hindu priest was hacked to death in a remote part of Bangladesh. And this morning another Hindu priest was attacked. And, although he didn`t die, he`s in critical conditions, and the doctors aren`t sure whether he`ll make it. So this is part of a, a larger sort of -- just to give you context about what`s happening. A lot of things have been happening in Bangladesh lately, and this hostage crisis is one of many things. One of many events that have been transpiring here.
MOHYELDIN: Asif, I want to talk to you a little bit about the, the operation that you, you`ve described as saying the breach of the compound seems to be getting underway. Can you talk to us about what type of forces have been deployed overnight in the course of the hours where it was dark there? Are we seeing a heavier presence of different types of security personnel? And do you know if at any point was there an attempt to negotiate an end to this that was unsuccessful, and that`s why now we`re seeing the security forces move in?
ISLAM: So let me, let me answer your second question first. Reuters has reported (Galhar) is the -- was an advisor to the Prime Minister here, the security. He -- Reuters reported that he had told them that security forces were trying to negotiate an end to the crisis, failing which they would launch an offensive to end the siege. So that`s something that, that, that is now on the record.
Over the course of the night, a number of different law enforcement agencies have made, have arrived. We`ve had the rapid-action battalions and various branches of the police forces. We`ve had Border Guard Bangladesh, which is our, our specialized border patrol. We`ve had uniformed members of the armed forces, the army, etcetera, as well, perhaps in an advisory role.
So there have been a lot of different forces. We`ve also had ambulance services and fire service nearby, just in case. All kinda, just about the entire array of Bangladesh`s armed forces and law enforcement agencies have been here on site. The, the Home Minister came in about three hours, two hours ago, maybe three hours ago. And was on the site. And, and so this is something that everybody is taking very seriously and as we have been, we have been told that, that there was -- and this was confirmed about an hour and a half ago, that negotiations had been underway.
MOHYELDIN: Asif, I`m going to ask you to stay with us just for a moment. We want to also bring in MSNBC senior digital editor and correspondent, Cal Perry, who`s been following a lot of the developments for us as well online with some of the material and content that is coming there. And, Cal, I understand, that there`s been some new information in, in the last couple of minutes regarding what is being described as this breach of this compound.
CAL PERRY, MSNBC SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Right. And, and just reflecting what we`re hearing there from the ground, we understand that there`s been some armored personnel carriers moving into position. And that`s that video you see there, some of those vehicle marked U.N. have been left in the country for a while. This is the rapid action battalion. They`ve been on the scene now for some 10 hours. One of the things we have been surmising throughout this is that perhaps the security forces would wait until daylight, not having night vision, not having some of the more technical equipment that you would fine in Western-type countries or in European-type countries.
But the reporting that we are getting now is there are, not only screams being heard, a series of explosions, and gunfire. So it is quite likely that this operation is now ongoing to breach that, that restaurant, Ayman.
MOHYELDIN: All right, Cal, thank you Very much for that update. Asif, are you still with us?
ISLAM: I am.
MOHYELDIIN: So, Asif, I know you said you had a correspondent who is on the ground there. Can you tell us what he`s been able to hear from some of the people that have been leaving this scene? You know, you mentioned that police had been on loud speakers, asking people to leave the area. Do you have any more information on what is actually happening in terms of how the security forces are trying to breach the compound right now?
ISLAM: So the, the announcement by a loud speaker to clear the area for all non-security personnel came about two hours ago. Our correspondent was there. He also mentioned that the remaing people who were there, security personnel, were to then don bullet-proof vests. So that`s from two hours ago. And there was some sort of a lull. And then again, now, we`re, we`re having the formal operation, I think.
I`m watching on the TV screen there, there are some local media who are on the ground. They are showing images on the personnel carriers and various kind of army trucks in the vicinity. Whether they`re being used in the actual siege or not, I don`t know. I mean there`s a heavy military presence around the compound. But we`re, we cannot confirm exactly what`s happening in the compound.
MOHYELDIN: And Asif, I know that earlier in the evening when we started reporting, some of the live pictures or live feed that was being put out by Bangladeshi TV was deliberately put into play back, so that it would not be showing perhaps the attackers inside the live developments outside of the compound. Is that still the case? Is local media still reporting this in a somewhat blackout, or are there now live pictures from the scene of this, this siege? what`s happening in the compound.
ISLAM: I can`t, I can`t speak to the question of whether or not there was a black out. What I can tell you is the, the media, the media was kept at some distance, probably for their own safety, from the compound when things were, when things were going down. So they were at least 150, maybe close to 500 yards away from the venue. But now that, now that we have, you know, the -- after daybreak, you know, the images that I`m seeing on TV, seem to, seem to be being shot from not too far away from, from where this is happening.
The, the route on which this, this venue is located, it`s sort of a cul-de- sac that ends at water`s edge. And it`s the last plot fronting what is called Gulshan Lake. So I think they probably shut down the road, you know, somewhat, you know, inland, and that whole area has been off limits for, for non-security personnel.
MOHYELDIN: OK, Asif, I`m going to ask you to stick with us as well. We`ll locate -- we`ll touch base with you in just a few more moments.
But I want to bring in Jim Cavanaugh, who is an MSNBC law enforcement analyst, former hostage negotiator, as well, for the ATF. Jim, I know you`ve been following this with us since the early hours that it broke and has been developing throughout the course of the night there in Bangladesh. Surprised? Are you at all surprised that the police decided to move in with daybreak, as opposed to using the advantage of nighttime and darkness?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCMENET ANALYST: Well, it looks a little heavy-handed, a little clumsy from what we`re seeing. Of course, we don`t know everything the commanders know. But if you bring a, you know, a row of armored personnel carriers down a cul-de-sac, toward the restaurant, you know, that`s not going to really be the surgical-type special operation that we would want to see in a hostage rescue, that an American law enforcement SWAT or military around the world would, would launch.
So, I hope, I hope that`s not the case. I hope there`s a surgical strike ahead of this, and maybe this is just a fill-in behind the perimeter. But, Ayman, the key for the commanders on the ground is, are the hostages alive? That`s the first thing, are the hostages alive? Because, you know, they could have been killed at any period over the night. And, if so, you know, that changes your decision on the assault. But if they know they`re alive, or at least many of them are alive, and they can`t make any contact, you know, at some point, once they get an advantage, they`ll going to want to do a deliberate assault.
But not a clumsy heavy-handed deliberate assault, because that`s going to result in a lot of deaths of the hostages. But rather a surgical strike, more technical. You know, we can discuss, as you, as you would like. But right here, all we can see, from what we can see, we`re not seeing that. Of course, we wouldn`t normally see it, if it was done correctly.
MOHYELDIN: And, Jim, let me ask you about this development that happened, which was the advisor to the Prime Minister, and this is according to Reuters, you know, saying they were trying to negotiate an end to this crisis, and that perhaps now that we`re seeing this movement, now that we`re seeing what is being described as this breach getting underway, is that a suggestion that the negotiations failed? Or what do you think may have changed the calculation just from a few hours ago, when there was a relative calmer on the compound?
CAVANAUGH: Right. Well, sometimes people read no negotiation wrong. What they have to read is the escalation and de-escalation in the situation inside. If nobody`s dying and there`s no negotiation, you might have more room to maneuver your forces into a better position. You don`t have to rush it. But sometimes, you know, we`ve seen over the years where commanders will say, well, they`re not talking, so we`ll go in. You can`t make the decision just on that one piece of information. You`ve got to know, one, are the hostages alive? That`s the main piece of information you need. Second from that, if so, how many? Where are they? You know, how are they being detained, held? Are they tied? Do they have bombs strapped to them? How many terrorists may be with them?
As much information as you can get, Ayman, from the hostages that escaped. One or two escaped from the, the one terrorist that was captured. And from your long rifle teams that were watching. From, you know, microphones you can insert inside. You gather all that information with the fact of whatever negotiations have or have not happened, before you make the decision to make a deliberate assault. And you always are looking for the advantage. All the commanders want is an advantage. It might be slight, but that`s what they got to get before they make their move.
MOHYELDIN: All right, Jim, I`m going to ask you to stay with us. Actually I want to go back to Bangladesh now. And joining us by phone in Dhaka is Zafar Sobhan, an editor with the Dhaka Tribune. He`s only a few blocks away from the restaurant. Let`s go straight to him. And, and, if you can, tell us what you`re seeing. Can you describe for us the nature of what is unfolding there from where you are standing?
ZAFAR SOBHAN, DHAKA TRIBUNE: Hello?
SOBHAN: Yeah, I can hear you. What`s going on right now is the operation is, is underway. So you have the joint forces who have been -- who in fact now have stormed the restaurant. I believe there`s gunfire. There is -- it all, it all should come to a conclusion, probably fairly shortly, I believe.
MOHYELDIN: Why, why do you think it`s going to come to a conclusion fairly shortly? What makes you think that?
SOBHAN: I believe that the rescue operation is now finally underway. It has been on hold all evening. But I think that if -- the reports I`m getting is that they`ve finally moved in.
MOHYELDIN: OK. And you`re talking about hearing the sounds of gunfire.
MOHYELDIN: Can you give us a sense of f what is unfolding in terms of the military operation? Is there, is there gunfire coming in from both directions? Meaning coming out the of the compound, as well as that from the security forces?
SOBHAN: That`s a very good question. I`m not sure that there is. It seems that there may be gunfire coming from inside the compound, but it is very difficult to determine whether that is indeed the case.
MOHYELDIN: Have you been there throughout the course of the night? Or are you just arriving on the scene?
SOBHAN: No, I`m not, I`m not at the scene myself. I`m, I`m sort of down the road basically.
SOBHAN: But Dhaka has been on the lockdown. So, you know, people -- there`s no (feeling) obviously to aid the police operations. But I`ve been monitoring this (editor relief state). But I have my people on the ground, and I`m in direct contact with my newsroom as well.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, I know, fair enough. And i was just trying to get a sense of the atmosphere around you. Are there other journalists? And are there civilians nearby who have evacuated the area? Or is it -- is there a mix of both civilians, as well as security personnel where you are right now?
SOBHAN: Yeah, everyone is, everyone is staying in the building. They`ve been -- they`ve been advised not to move around. And they`ve, they`ve shut the streets down in the immediate vicinity. And so that creates a perimeter for the law enforcement operation to actually do their operation.
MOHYELDIN: OK, and do you have anything to suggest the conditions of the hostages that were taken? Do police know if there`s been a change in their status overnight? Or what compelled them, from your reporting, from your sources?
SOBHAN: I have very bad news on that. I have -- I`ve seen pictures, which are very authentic of, of dead bodies from inside the restaurant. So it`s fairly gruesome. These are pictures which have been put up what appears to be an Islamic State website. And, yeah, it looks really quite horrible. So, certainly there`ve been a lot of killings. I`m not in sure if there`s alive insider there any more at all.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, we certainly right now don`t want to be showing any of those images and, and we have not be able to independently.
SOBHAN: No, absolutely. Yes
MOHYELDIN: Yes, and we have not been able to independently.
SOBHAN: But they are out there. They`re on, they`re on Twitter. (inaudible) feed (inaudible).
MOHYELDIN: Yes. Yes, fair enough.
SOBHAN: And so they`re in the public domain to some extent.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, fair enough. And certainly we haven`t been able to independently verify any of those images. But let me ask you why --? Have you seen the inside of that.?
SOBHAN: I`ve been in the restaurant many times myself, so I can absolutely verify that they are taken from inside the restaurant personally.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, that`s what I was just going to ask you that.
SOBHAN: There`s no question in my mind the authenticity of these photographs. And I believe the ones I have seen, they show eight, nine, maybe 10 people dead.
MOHYELDIN: OK. And you were -- I just want to understand some of these details. So stay with us here for one second, Zof, Zofar. You`ve been inside that restaurant before?
SOBHA: Yes, I have been, yes.
MOHYELDIN: All right. And some of the images.
SOBHA: I can absolutely guarantee that those pictures are taken from inside that restaurant.
MOHYELDIN: And some of the images you have seen now online, you can -- you can independently feel that they are the same ones inside the, the restaurant? Similar setting?
SOBHA: Yes, not the -- yes, it`s a similar setting. It is, it is clearly taken from inside that restaurant and they`re clearly dead bodies.
MOHYELDIN: OK. Have police on the scene told you anything about what made them to decide to go ahead with this operation?
SOBHA: That, they`ve been keeping the operational details very close to their chest, which is probably why, so they haven`t really been sharing that information with us in terms of the timing of the operations, and why they have moved, and what their thinking on that has been. They, in fact, moved -- they moved the television cameras there for the first couple of hours, and they moved those out after a few hours. And, since then, information as to the operation has been very scant. But I dare say that makes a lot sense in terms of making sure that any operation law (enforcement) does is going to be efficient and effective.
MOHYELDIN: And have you heard at all from the, the leadership of Bangladesh, in terms of the political leadership, the government? Have they addressed the operation that is ongoing now and what compelled them to go in? Have they revealed anything about the, the collapse of those negotiations?
SOBHAN: Nothing that looked like that has come out yet.
MOHYELDIN: OK. I`m going to ask you to, to stay with us, if I can. Safar Sobhan from the Dhaka Tribune, who is telling us now from, from what he`s been able to see. He has is seen some images online. He`s describing for us the operation as getting underway. The presence of multiple layers of Bangladesh`s security.
But perhaps the most significant development is, as someone who has frequented that caf‚, that restaurant, he was able to see some images that have been circulating online that shows what is being described as, as very gruesome details, suggesting that some of those that were inside the, the restaurant have been, in fact, killed. Some of those hostages. We have not been able to independently verify that here at NBC, but we`ll continue to work on that throughout the course of the hour.
But here, for more perspective on this is Anushay Hossain. She`s a Bangladeshi-born journalist and a founder of, of the website, Anushayspoint.com. It`s very good to, to have you with us. I know this is a very long night for a lot of people, and obviously this is a significant development. I`m curious to get your thoughts right now on how the Bangladeshi government is handling this. And what may have changed in their calculation to, to compel them to launch this operation. You, you know it probably better than anyone at this point, Anushay.
ANUSHAY HOSSAIN, BANGLADESHI-BORN JOURNALIST: Thank you so much, Ayman, first of all for having me on. And, you know, the situation is so fluid. I mean, we know as much as you do right now. I mean, it`s ongoing, we`re all following the developments very carefully. And I think that the government`s actions are speaking, literally, a lot louder than their words. But just -- I mean, Ayman, just as a Bangladeshi, just to tell you, I don`t even know what to say.
I`m in such shock. I really want the viewers to understand that Bangladesh is not -- Bangladesh is not Kabul, Bangladesh is not Baghdad. We are not in a green zone here. Yes, this is a big diplomatic center. But Gulshan is also the city center. You know, people are not divided in this country between the green zone and where the diplomats live. This is a very integrated community, and Bangladesh is a huge development success story.
We have huge develop -- aid community in Bangladesh. It is -- I can`t even tell you, this bakery is a, is a big place for diplomats to go. But it`s also a big place for locals to go. My three sisters live down the street from, from the bakery. My nephews go there every day. I mean, this is not just targeting foreigners. This is targeting, targeting locals, as well. And it`s really -- I mean Bangladesh for the -- you know, working in the news. For the past couple of years, and particularly the past couple of months, we have been seeing reports coming out about machete killings, a real attack on our secular bloggers, on our secular voices.
But this is, this is turning the page. This is a big turning point.
MOHYELDIN: Anushay, let me just jump in here real quickly and ask you -- you mentioned you had some relatives there, your sisters living not too far away from there. Have you been speaking to them throughout the course of the night?
HOSSAIN: I have been speaking with my parents, I`ve been speaking with my sisters. But for the past two, three hours, it`s impossible to get a connection. And actually since I`ve been, since I`ve been on TV, it`s been absolutely impossible throughout the afternoon. I mean, I`ve been living in D.C. for over two decades. Ayman, I will tell you, I have never called home the way that I called home today. I, it`s like being in a, in a war zone. And it`s like if you, if you live in Syria. And initially, I had great contact with my family. And then the past two, three hours, no contact at all. It`s so difficult to get a line through. I`m sitting here, I`m getting the updates from MSNBC, seeing the streets of Dhaka, of Gulshan. This is like a war zone. We have tanks on the streets of, of, of Dhaka.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, it is certainly a very perilous situation that is unfolding right now. And obviously I know this is a difficult time, not [only] for you, but certainly as well for your family and all those people that are in the area. Anushay, if you can stay with us just a little bit. Let me go back to my colleague, Cal Perry, with some late-breaking information. Cal?
PERRY: We`re [under]standing as we sort of monitor both local media and police sources, that 100 commandos are involved in this raid. It is officially underway. They are using, as we mentioned, those armored personnel carriers. And again, this is that rapid-action battalion. It`s the equivalent of a intergovernmental sort of SWAT teams. It`s sort of a special forces within the, the Bangladeshi military. But again, 100 commandos are involved now in this raid, ongoing as we speak.
MOHYELDIN: All right, Cal. Let`s go back to Bangladesh real quickly before we bring in some other guests that are with us here in studio. But I want to go back to Asif Islam, the planning editor at the Dhaka Tribune. And, Asif, I understand that you have some new information as well?
ISLAM: Yes, this just in. Mizanur Rahman, the assistant director of the Rapid-Action Battalion legal and media wing has just confirmed that four or five people have been rescued, one of which is a foreigner. This was just coming in now. They haven`t yet been produced, so we haven`t seen them. We cannot confirm anything, but the statement by the RAB legal and media wing`s director has just come in.
MOHYELDIN: Let me just go back to that one more point, if you can. And this is according to the rapid-action battalion. Is that correct?
ISLAM: Action battalion, yes.
MOHYELDIN: OK. And he`s telling.
ISLAM: Their media wing.
MOHYELDIN: Their media wing.
ISLAM: So the media wing of the rapid-action battalion. They are saying that five or six people have been rescued, one of whom may be a foreigner.
MOHYELDIN: And is he telling you that, that he would -- that these individuals were rescued as a result of this operation or before the operation?
ISLAM: That is what I understand, as a result of this operation, yes.
MOHYELDIN: OK. So he`s been able to brief the journalists that were there? Or how did this statement come out? Is this something being reported on local media?
ISLAM: No, this is something that we`ve been told through our journalists who are on the ground.
ISLAM: Our correspondent who`s on the scene has, has told us this, yes.
MOHYELDIN: Have they been able to tell you whether or not there are any other survivors or are there any numbers on the casualties or perhaps even fatalities, as we`ve been hearing throughout the night?
ISLAM: No, I`m afraid we have no further details. The statement was made and so I`m letting you know that that`s just coming in. But, as I said, those have been -- who have been rescued haven`t yet spoken out. You see, they probably have to be processed. I`m not sure. Treated perhaps. We don`t know what the conditions are. We don`t know what the condition is that they`re in at the moment. But, but the rapid-action battalion says that five or six -- four or five people have been -- have been rescued.
MOHYELDIN: OK. Do you know at all -- did the statement suggest that the operation is over? That the actual security component of this operation is over? Or any, any information on the attackers? If the attackers are still alive or not?
ISLAM: At this stage, I couldn`t say for sure. We cannot confirm. I mean, as I said, we`re at some distance from the actual event. So I couldn`t say if this was still being carried out or whether it`s now come to an end. I`d rather not comment on that.
MOHYELDIN: OK, and perhaps maybe we can go back to your colleague, Zafar Sobhan, who might be in the area. Zafar, are you with us? OK, we`ll get back to Zafar in a moment. We`ll try to re-establish that connection.
Let me bring in Jim Cavanaugh really quickly. Jim, you, you`re take on this announcement? Actually two components to this. One, we heard from the Bangladeshi journalist who was telling us he`d been inside this restaurant many, many times. He`s seen some of these images that we`re also familiar with, although we`re not at this stage confirming them or even reporting them. But some of these images that suggest that some of those that were inside were killed before this breach of this operation got going.
And then the announcement by the rapid-action battalion, the kind of elite police force of, of the Bangladeshi police, if you will, or at least some component of it, announcing that they`ve rescued five to six people, including one foreigner.
CAVANAUGH: Right. Well, some of the people could have been hiding, Ayman, inside there and, in the chaos, got away. Or maybe the security forces were able to engage some of the actors in there and some of the hostages were able to get away. That`s good news. Of course, it`s awful news that they`re tweeting out through ISIS media arms, you know, a stack of victims that they`ve murdered. And we don`t know when in the hostage taking event this happened. Did it happen early on? Did it happen once security forces were on the move? Did that massacre hostages then, once they knew an assault was underway? Or did they do it before that to, you know, make the commanders make the decision to go in because they thought the murders were happening?
So we don`t know those answers yet. But some people might have escaped in the chaos. They could have been hiding. They could have been in another room. They could have been got away just if somebody was holding them was shot. So it sounds like some people have escaped. But unfortunately there`re going to be a lot of, a lot of victims that didn`t escape. Probably going to be a lot of wounded or dead officers and terrorists.
MOHYELDIN: Let me bring in Malcom Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism analyst. Malcom, your reading of the situation, given what we are hearing both from the reporters on the ground, the fact that the security operation now is clearly underway according to multiple sources, as well as the Reuters report that the Adviser to the Prime Minister saying that these negotiations, if they do not end with a settlement, then the next option was going to be the breach of this compound.
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Right. I`m a little surprised that it took so long after daylight for them to do that, this assault. And it tells you quite a bit about the lack of capability that the Bangladeshis have.
Now, just looking at the picture that we have here, you can easily count up if you were ISIS intelligence. You can easily count up that there`s going to be a hundred men on this assault. They bought 8 BTR-60 armored personnel carrier, 10 men per carrier. And there are four assault boats there that they`ve carried in inside those trucks, which means, you know that they`re going to do a ten man per vote assault right on to the place.
Clearly, the Bangladeshi rolled in with all the armored vehicles and that`s why we had those explosions over the 20 minute period.
MOHYELDIN: Now, I`m just going to ask you to hold on second because we`re getting more information now. We want to cross back over to Asif Islam in Bangladesh. Asif, I understand you have some new information for us?
ISLAM: Right. So our correspondents are now confirming that five people have been rescued, one of them was appear to be a foreigner. He appeared to be bloody and injured, and they were whisked away in a rapid action battalion vehicle, probably for treatment. We`re hearing that they are going to low in the activity. We cannot hear gunfire or explosions at this moment, that doesn`t necessarily mean that we`ve come to the end, perhaps the groups are regrouping now. We`re not sure, but we did find the five people were rescued, one of them a foreigner who appeared to be badly injured.
MOHYELDIN: Do you know, again, and I know this may be difficult for your correspondent on the scene there, but do you know if they were rescued as a result of this operation are we`re hearing from Jim Cavanaugh, if they may have escaped in the chaos of the situation?
ISLAM: That, you know, everything at this point is a possibility. We couldn`t confirm one way or the other really. The impression that we`re getting is that, you know, the appearance of these five is after the operation began. So, I mean, we are assuming that the result of the operation, we cannot say for sure, though.
MOHYELDIN: Sure. And ...
ISLAM:: That`s the first thing. The other this is. We have asked the - we haven`t been able to ascertain how many people maybe inside the compound, hostage, I mean, how many. Maybe within the compound, whether dead or alive.
MOHYELDIN: And do you know ...
ISLAM: We were not able to ...
MOHYELDIN: Do you know, is there a very -- is there a heavy presence of ambulance and first aid workers. Could there be possibly anticipation by medical personnel on the scene that as this operation was going to get underway, there could be a sudden spike in casualties.
ISLAM: I will have to get back to you about that. Earlier in the evening, there was a physical presence of ambulances and fire services, that I can confirm. As of this morning, I couldn`t say for sure whether they`re still on site, where they begin to decide so allowed for law enforcement and army personnel to (inaudible).
I couldn`t say for sure whether the ambulance is on (near term). I`m assuming though they would be. They were certainly there last night.
MOHYELDIN: OK. Asif, I`m going to ask you to continue working your sources for us and update us with any more information that you can. Let`s go back here to Malcolm Nance who joins us in the studio.
Before I cut you off, you were talking about the operation. Jim Cavanaugh brought up a good point that, you know, this seems to have an element of bluntness to it. You saw convoys of vehicles moving towards the scene of this compound, perhaps the element of surprise that one would expect under the cover of darkness removed.
NANCE: Well, clearly the element of surprise has been removed. This is not precession tactical team operation like you saw in Orlando where they had a lot of intelligence to work with and then, you know, infiltrated the team, breached the wall and did that. What -- where that bakery is, there`s a wall around it, there`s a large steel gate there and then it did have a water borne inside to the back.
So they have to actually breach through those walls first, that`s why they have the armored personnel vehicles. And they probably just rolled right up to the building under fire and try to disgorge, you know, mass wave that the terrorists in that sight. We just don`t know what`s the result now that that end of that has happened, has it actually ended, did assault fail or have they reached their objective by removing a few of the hostages, or they did they do the water borne component of it and get some of the wounded hostages.
We are not going to know until we actually get intelligence straight from the RAB, whether this situation is over with. But that being said, this is less like the old -- like the Nairobi Westgate Shopping Mall assault. This is one more like that occurred back in Iraq in 2010, you might remember. The Syriac Church in .
MOHYELDIN: . yeah.
NANCE: . in downtown Baghdad, where Al-Qaeda`s predecessor -- I`m sorry, ISIS`s predecessor, Al-Qaeda in Iraq waited. They waited all night. They taunted the Iraqi Special Forces and the moment that they moved in on that church, it was a massacre and a blood bath.
MOHYELDIN: And, Jim, if I can bring you back into this, as we`re hearing there from Asif`s colleague. And it is certainly something that we were familiar with here in our newsroom. You know, about an hour or two ago, some images started to surface online of what various groups were claiming to be victims inside that restaurant.
And again, although we weren`t able to independently verify those in Bangladesh who have been inside that restaurant, looked at those pictures and said with a certain degree of confidence, they believe those pictures to be authentic and credible.
I`m curious if the information obviously reached us, it certainly would have reached the commanders on the ground, would that have changed their calculation? Would that have made them say, "There is no more time for negotiations, they maybe killing people, executing people summerly inside?
CAVANAUGH: Right. Well the calculation, first, has to be are the hostages alive. So if you get a photograph that shows all the hostages are killed, that takes the urgency of the movement away, then you just have barricaded terrorists. But like you`re saying, Ayman, if the shooting starts and they believe that, you know, the ongoing murder of hostages is occurring, that`s a normal time for commanders to make a decision to move.
But if the move is so clumsy and so big and so, you know, movement of ten armored personnel carriers down the road on this cul-de-sac toward the water and even as Malcolm said, the amphibious vehicles from the rear, it`s so big you`re not going to be able to, you know, got a chance to rescue all the people if the trigger pulling has already started.
Some people got out in the chaos or were hidden somewhere. And when the forces moved in, they got away. But think of the sheer terror that they`re trying to impart on the world like Malcolm described previously in the Iraqi church. What they`re trying to say is you can`t rescue these people. We`re holding their lives in the balance and you`re not doing to be able to get to them. We`re going to kill them before you do.
And they get all that theater, the timing, the display, now they get it on Twitter. They get it across the world on their media sites. This is what they`re saying. We`re holding these lives in our hands and you can`t rescue them. We`re more powerful, you`re powerless. That`s the message that they`re trying to send.
MOHYELDIN: All right Jim, stay with us. Malcolm stay with us as well. I want to cross over now back to my colleague, Cal Perry who`s got more information for us, Cal?
PERRY: Yeah. I just want to answer the question you sort of posed which is about the ambulance, about the medical sort of response to this. Local media is reporting that a number of ambulance has moved into position shortly before this raid began, perhaps an indication that this was planned to some extent.
But it`s important we remind our viewers Bangladesh is a third world impoverished country. This is not likely to end happily. There is not likely to be good news at the end of this road and when you look at these pictures, you can see what kind of equipment we`re talking about Malcolm Nance has done a great job laying this out for us over the passed ten hours.
These are not the security forces for example that we saw in Istanbul that we`re able to take out three suicide bombers and perhaps save dozens or even hundreds of lives. So that`s something we`re watching very closely is not only sort of the movement of the security forces, but the potential that there was return gunfire coming from that cafe, that`s also something that we`re hearing that there was an initial burst of gunfire coming from that restaurant, perhaps an indication that some of those attackers with were still alive when this raid commenced.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Cal, stay with us.
I want to cross over to get a new shade thoughts on all of this that is developing now. We`re hearing -- we`re getting reports on the scene that five to six people may have been rescued, including one foreigner who was badly injured being treated locally, not yet sure about the fate of the remaining hostages. We understand at one point, you know, the numbers have varied throughout the course of the evening, at one point we`re told 40, maybe down as low as 20, somewhere in between that.
Certainly dozens remain inside. Your thoughts on what is unfolding this morning. I mean you have family there in Dhaka. Describe for us what you`re feeling and certainly what you think your family is feeling based on your communications with them throughout the evening.
ALUCIA (ph): Well, Ayman, I have so much anxiety right now. And the longer I stay here and watch with unfolding, I just want to call home. I missed a call from my mom earlier. I haven`t been able to get through to her since. But I want to go back to what you`re experts were saying earlier and something that`s very worrying that we`re seeing in this footage and I think we can all kind of grab the tangible sense of chaos and just everybody is strangling for information.
But Bangladesh is not like Turkey. Bangladesh is not like Istanbul. Bangladesh is not like Kenya. You can see how ill-equipped we are to handle this situation. I mean, there`s been nothing that this story has been developing all day. We`re seeing tanks roll in.
I mean, we`ve just don`t have the resources and the equipment to deal with such a large sophisticated attack. It`s terrifying and worrying. Forget about my family who I can`t even reach. The bakery is owned by family friends, I`m hearing conflicted reports from -- I`m getting What`s Up messages and texts and e-mails on my phone. There`s conflicting messages about maybe some of the owners are inside, lots of foreigners inside, people we may know. So it`s -- the chaos that we are seeing on TV is tangible.
MOHYELDIN: So let me ask you, Alucia (ph), you brought up the issue of the resources, talk to us a little about that country`s security forces. I mean, you know, when we use the word, S.W.A.T. and elite forces here in the United States, we expect the best of the best and we see that in many of the scenarios and sometimes unfold in the United States. We saw the heroism of some of the police security forces in Istanbul who shot and, you know, crippled one of the bombers before he was able to get closer to civilians.
What can you tell us about the security forces that are currently operating there, you know, the rapid action battalion, is that considered an elite squad of the police force, how are they trained, are they conscripts or professional force?
ALUCIA (ph): What an excellent question, Ayman. I can`t believe I have to answer it. The Rapid Action Battalion force RAB is actually a very controversial elite force unit. For the past couple of years, they`ve come under fire from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, major international organizations around the world for human rights violations, deaths in their custody. But they also are one of the most, if not the most powerful security force that we have in the country.
You talk about America and S.W.A.T. teams and Special Forces. Well, I think the best way to kind of give you a perspective is that Bangladesh is probably on the opposite end, far end of the spectrum from where America is. Everything that America has, we have little, but yes. Yes, we are one of the poorest countries in the world but Bangladesh is a development star. We`re considered, you know, a development kind of golden star child for slashing on maternal mortality.
I mean this is a country that really is the photo of -- where your aids dollars really go to work. But at the same time, we`re still a developing country. We just don`t have forces like security forces, you know, intelligent forces to really coordinate all of this information for us. So what you`re seeing now is just -- I mean, I`m not a security expert but I can tell, you this will probably not end well.
MOHYELDIN: So and that`s only something that we`re hearing from various people we`ve been speaking to tonight.
ALUCIA (ph): We just don`t have the capacity to deal with it. You`re seeing it.
MOHYELDIN: Yeah. Asif, are you still with us on the phone?
ISLAM: I am.
MOHYELDIN: Asif, let me get your take in terms of the security lay out of the land in Dhaka, you know. When we talk about holidays in the United States or in Europe and during the peak holiday seasons, there`s a beefed up security presence and many of the areas where we expect there to be tourists, where we expect there are to be sensitive diplomats or diplomatic missions if you will, a compounds. We`re going into the end of Ramadan, it`s about to be Eid, one of the busiest holidays in the Islamic calendar. So certainly security forces .
MOHYELDIN: . in Bangladesh. Certainly, the government must have been anticipating a heightened awareness or security or am I miss reading that? The Bangladeshi government did not change it`s security posture as the end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of the holiday season was getting underway.
ISLAM: Well, now I think it`s fair to say that, you know, ahead of every big holiday, the government does is beef up security and that is, you know, standard practice. But I was listening to all of the commentary with some interests and I wanted to just point one little thing out.
It is true that Bangladesh is a third world country. It`s also true that it is a development super star, all of that is true. But what happens here appears and I`m not on site and we`re learning a lot about this as time unfolds, right as -- after these ends we`ll be able to see what actually happened and then figure out what was right and what was wrong. But this is kind of a combination of a shoot up in a movie theater and a hostage taking rolled into one.
The reports -- and so in terms of preparedness it`s not easy to prepare for somebody walking into a place where people go to eat and anticipate that they may open fire. I mean that`s one of the great -- that`s what makes small cell terrorism so fearsome is the fact that it could be anyplace, it could be anyone, and there is a symbolic elements to attacking this particular coffee shop and rather this bakery and restaurant. It was frequently by expatriates and by members of Bangladesh elite. It`s in a very, very, harsh part of town.
MOHYELDIN: Asif, I`m going to interrupt you just for a second. I apologize to this. We want to go to another person that we have. We have another guest with us who`s on the phone, also not too far away from the scene of this ongoing police raid. We are now joined on the phone by Memoona Ahmed (ph). She lives close to the scene of the police raid that just took place and can describe what she heard and what she saw. Memoona (ph), are you there?
MEMOONA AHMED (ph), WITNESS: Yes, I am.
MOHYELDIN: Hi, thanks for joining us. First of all, can you tell us where you are in relation to the ongoing operation? What can you tell us about what is unfolded there within the past hour or so?
AHMED (ph): Sure. So I live a few blocks down the street from the restaurant. And so we`ve just been sitting at our balcony window and kind of watching and hearing as this is unfolded for the last hour. About 50-55 minutes ago, we heard gunfire open, it continued for about 10 minutes, very loud, rapid gunfire, multiple explosions. It felt like it went on for a really long time but it`s about 10 minutes. There were some posits followed by more bursts of gunfire and sporadic explosions.
We have seen only two ambulances who leave from the direction (inaudible) down our street. Right now there`s a lot of military and police presence on the street but it`s been quiet for the last 15 minutes or so, no one else has been coming out. There is no more sound that we`re hearing.
MOHYELDIN: And, Memoona (ph), I`m not sure if you can answer this but were you able to tell from the sounds of the gunfire and the explosions which direction they were coming from? Were they coming from the compound outwards or were they coming from the security forces towards the compound?
AHMED (ph): I mean, it`s hard to tell, you know, from where we`re at but it sounded like it was going both ways. It is terrifying.
MOHYELDIN: OK. And you were saying that you can see a presence, having military and police presence, is the situation chaotic or is the situation under control?
AHMED (ph): It seems quite quiet and under control at the moment, so over the last hour we`ve seen various military personnel as well as vehicles. We went to the street, to the extreme, police and military personnel in uniform with guns and then rifles patrolling the street. There seems to be a lot of action happening at the moment so whatever happened seem to be over and there are fewer folks in uniform out on the street at the moment, but it is quite chaotic about 20 minutes ago.
MOHYELDIN: And, Memoona (ph), I was hearing earlier from another eye witness who were speaking to on the scene that police were actually addressing the local residents on the loudspeakers. Can you confirm that that did actually happen and have you heard any orders or instructions being issued to the local residence over the loudspeakers within the last hour or so as this operation was getting underway?
AHMED (ph): We have heard absolutely no announcements over the loudspeaker over the last hour and we`ve been just - I was get out of our window. We have heard -- the only thing I`ve heard over the loudspeaker is it sounded like a prayer actually, like (inaudible) praying in the morning and nothing else.
MOHYELDIN: OK. Memoona (ph), I`m going to ask you to stick with us. I know this is a difficult time right now and certainly a lot of uncertainty and a lot of anxiety.
Asif, are you with us?
ISLAM: I am.
MOHYELDIN: So, let me go back to the point that you were addressing and certainly no one is suggesting that Bangladesh somehow should be immune from things that we`ve seen happening, Europe and certainly happen in the United States and happen even in Turkey. But let me go back to this issue of the security forces in terms of their capabilities and particularly this neighborhood within the capital. Would you say that security had been elevated in anticipation of the holiday there?
ISLAM: Yeah, I mean I had in every holidays. There is a move to beef up security.
MOHYELDIN: What would that look like? What would the beef up security look like in a neighborhood like this, frequented by diplomats, ex- patriots, home to embassies?
ISLAM: Yeah. Well, there are noticeable checkpoints. There are noticeable check points at night. And during the holidays, securities beefed up in entrances and exits to residential areas, especially lots of residential areas. And then they`re also beefed up on the main highways.
But just to give context, security isn`t beefed in this particular neighborhood for over a year now because of -- well, almost year now because of these sorts of attacks and the rising of militant attack in Bangladesh. So, it`s been there. It has been the right time to secure this set up. You know, that`s something that would be open to discussion with the response -- the right response. That also would be open to discussion as this unfolds.
MOHYELDIN: And let me ask you about the security forces there. You certainly know them better than any of us would. Are they -- do you believe they are competent enough to handle a situation like this? Do you recall any, in modern history, of Bangladesh, any situation even similar to this where the police have had to deal with such a coordinated, sophisticated terrorist attack?
ISLAM: So it`s -- I believe this is the first hostage taking of this magnitude in this country`s history. So the answer to your question is, I couldn`t really say whether they have been adequately prepared for this. It is true that, you know, there is probably a lot more training and a lot more practice required for them. This has been a new problem and it come pretty fast over the last year, a lot of attacks suddenly, attacks of various kinds. So this is the first of this kind where they`ve gone in, they`d open fire on innocent people and then they had the place down and taking hostages. This hasn`t happened before.
In the past, attacks haven been one-off. They`re more like assassinations using either machetes to hack at their victims or occasional -- on one or two occasion, shootings. So this has been an attack and an operation of a whole different kind. And I think it`s probably fair to assume that, no, there hasn`t been adequate preparation, and to some extent, this is something that we`ll have to be addressed.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Asif Islam, you`ve been with us throughout the course. I`m going to ask you to stick around with us just a little bit longer while we get some more updates.
I want to cross over back to Cal Perry who`s in our newsroom monitoring all of these developments with us. Cal, you have some updates?
PERRY: Yeah, just a very quick tick-tack, about 40 minutes ago, the raid started, about 20 minutes ago everything went silent. That was the point that five hostages sort of came out of the building. Here`s what we`re not seeing, what we`re not seeing is people running out of that restaurant. We`re not seeing a heavy flood of ambulances from the scene. If this was an ISIS attack and we have this affiliated media outlet claiming that it was an ISIS attack, it would be a miracle, right, if there were survivors from this attack. All of this, to say again, this is shaping up to be a very, very grim evening as this now crosses in to what was the 11th hour of this hostage crisis.
MOHYELDIN: And, Cal, stick with us.
Jim, let me pick up on that point as well and I`ll bring Malcolm in here, the point that Cal just made. One of things that we`re not seeing, we`re not seeing a mass exodus of people perhaps in the compound. What does that suggest to you, that even though we`ve seen five people rescued among them, a foreigner, we`re still not seeing more details or more people leave the scene of that compound where the hostage taking took place at that restaurant?
CAVANAUGH: Yes, it`s not a good sign. It goes back to your earlier reporting of the, you know, photographs of stacks of bodies being sent out on the Twitter feeds of ISIS and so forth. Normally, if the operation is over and people are rescued or there`s wounded they`re, you know, extricated by special operators pretty quick. So that`s not a good sign. The five out is a good sign.
I mean, nobody can question the heart and the bravery of the police there. Nobody can question it. I mean, there was four officers killed. They`ve lost an assistant commissioner, a superintendent early on who moved, you know, to try to rescue a hostage. These forces have moved in.
It remains to be seen, Ayman, how they did their surgical strike or was it clumsy, but nobody can question their bravery or their heart though they may need some training and capability and equipment but that can all be laid on.
This is a unique situation. This is a challenging event for any special team in the world. Our special operations team, our police, our military, and any across Europe, this is a challenge. Seven or nine terrorists bomb strapped on them, long guns, machine guns, suicidal, homicidal, holding hostages, it`s a challenge for anybody. So .
CAVANAUGH: . if anybody gets out alive, it`s good news.
MOHYELDIN: Yeah, Jim. And you and I talked about this in the past certainly about ISIS in terms of their desire, as Jim was saying there, Malcolm, you know, they`re suicidal, they`re homicidal. You know, in a situation like this, this is, and you know, you followed this, as well, ISIS` M.O. over the course of the last two years that it has risen to prominence. This is not something they do. They do not take hostages. They go into places to kill or be killed.
MOHYELDIN: But not to take hostages, not to negotiate. They don`t have demands. They weren`t going to ask for anything.
NANCE: Right. It`s not just ISIS. This is the either Al-Qaeda, Jihadi M.O. that existed since the -- since 1997. They go in for a suicide hostage barricade. It is a dishonor to be captured. It is a dishonor to come out of this alive. ISIS of course is just younger, faster, better at this game.
But now what you see here with the Dhaka attack, you see a doctrinal spread of this policy everywhere whether it`s Al-Qaeda, the Islamic Maghreb, doing this at hotels across Sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa, but now you see them, you know, occurring all over the Middle East and now into South Asia and even on into East Asia. We saw that in Jakarta, the exact same type of operation and the only thing that stopped them for example in Indonesia was very well-aware, you know, law enforcement, same thing as in Turkey.
This operation, as Jim said a little earlier, you can tell just by the timeline of the gunfire, they initiated their assault. They breached into the facility. They, you know, may have had some sort of shock effect, whether it was the armored personnel carriers, or as we do, we flashbang the place. And then they have to clear this place of the hostages.
Usually those hostages are brought out right away, taken into ambulances, identified to make sure that they`re not terrorists and then what you see is your victory parade. We have none of that right now.
MOHYELDIN: Yeah. And I`m not sure if we still have some of those live pictures that we had from the scene. Obviously, there has been a live feed that has been reestablished further down the road, but it doesn`t seem we have that.
But earlier, Malcolm, we were able to see, what appeared to be crowds gathering, certainly looking down the road where the operation is taking place, something very similar to this on the outer side of the cordon. What does that tell you do if local residents are feeling safe enough to kind of walk back out on to the streets, journalists understandably. But it looked like there were people there that are, you know, watching what is unfolding more so than participating in it.
NANCE: Sure. I wouldn`t give that a lot of, you know, weight because no matter where you are in, you know, in Sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East, I`ve literally seen people walk right up to the aftermath of suicide bombing.
NANCE: . and just stand and look around. This is the exterior perimeter. You can just tell by the law enforcement who are there. There`s an inner perimeter that`s controlled by the RAB. But that they`re doing is they are responding to a certain extent to what they are hearing and seeing. So -- but the locals who are there, there`s actually an apartment building that is completely over that hotel and whether we`re going to see video out of that at some point, of the actual assault, remains to be seen.
MOHYELDIN: Yeah. And we are speaking to Memoona Ahmed (ph). I don`t know is she`s still with us but she also lives not too far away, a few blocks away. She described this unfolding siege or this operation rather to end the siege taking place over the course of 55 minutes within the last hour, so just as we are coming on to air.
But I`m really curios to get your thoughts very quickly, if I can, in terms of what this means as a different element in what ISIS` capable of doing. This -- why is this something than what we`ve seen in the past? It has similar hallmarks but what`s different about it?
NANCE: Well, what`s different about, this is simply that they have now entered another country and have moved up from very basic type of attacks, personnel assassinations, these knife-wielding machete attacks against bloggers and the gun -- silence gun assassination against the Italian aid worker to world class, you know, media-grabbing, hostage -- suicide hostage barricade. And now, this puts Bangladesh in play as a new ISIS Wilayah, a new ISIS province. And it may inspire other ISIS groups that are now working their way up the chain. Even as ISIS central is being destroyed, there`s -- other small groups are now moving into the chaos.
MOHYELDIN: All right, Malcolm Nance, we`ll ask you to stick with us. We want to just reset for the top of the hour. You`re watching MSNBC`s breaking coverage of the dramatic event unfolding right now in Bangladesh.