Three students at universities in the United States, including a U.S. citizen and an Indian citizen, were among those killed in a militant attack in Bangladesh, university officials, the Indian government and a source said on Saturday.
The State Department confirmed one U.S. citizen was killed, but gave no details. The White House condemned the attack in the country’s capital Dhaka, which it said resulted in as many as 20 deaths, including that of the American.
“We remain in contact with Bangladeshi authorities and have offered any assistance necessary,” it said.
The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for what was one of the most brazen attacks in the South Asian nation’s history, killing more than a dozen foreigners at a restaurant before security forces stormed the building and ended a 12-hour standoff on Saturday.
A State Department official said the department was not aware that any more U.S. citizens had been among the hostages.
Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, said two of its students were killed and an Indian government official said an Indian citizen who was a student at the University of California at Berkeley was among the dead.
“The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss,” the university said in a statement. Undergraduate Abinta Kabir and Goizueta Business School graduate student Faraaz Hossain were the two victims from Emory, the statement said. Emory said Kabir was from Miami and Hossain was from Dhaka.
A source with knowledge of the situation said that the U.S. citizen confirmed by the State Department was one of the Emory students.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said the “pure evil” of Islamic State had claimed another Floridian, after a gunman who pledged allegiance to the group took hostages and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando last month.
“We cannot afford to see more lives lost at the hands of terrorists,” Scott said in a statement.
Tarushi Jain, 19, was the Berkeley student victim, India’s minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, wrote on Twitter.
“I have spoken to her father Shri Sanjeev Jain and conveyed our deepest condolences. The country is with them in this hour of grief,” the minister wrote. “I monitored this personally the whole night. … It is a case of brutal killing – an unnatural death.”
Jain had graduated from the American International School in Dhaka, and began studying at the University of California Berkeley last year. Berkeley officials said she intended to major in economics.
The university said in a statement that since early June she had been in Dhaka on an internship at Eastern Bank Limited working on e-commerce growth.
“We are all very devastated,” said Sanchita Saxena, executive director of the California university’s Institute for South Asia Studies and director of its Center for Bangladesh Studies.
“She was a smart and ambitious young woman with a big heart. Our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and the entire Berkeley community.”
UC Berkeley said Jain’s father is a textile merchant based in Dhaka and that he was among relatives and friends who rushed to the scene of the attack in hope of news of their loved ones. (Courtesy Reuters)