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Miami student among 20 hostages killed in Bangladesh attack

An Emory University student from Miami was among the 20 hostages killed in the attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the university confirmed in a statement on its website Saturday.

Abinta Kabir, a rising sophomore in the University’s Oxford College, was visiting family in Dhaka when she was taken hostage and killed, according to the university’s statement.

“The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of one of our university family,” the school posted. “Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of Abinta and her family and friends for strength and peace at this unspeakably sad time.”

Emory president James Wagner wrote in an email later posted on the school website that he reached Kabir’s mother, who was in “unspeakable pain” over her daughter’s death.

“Please, as you are inclined, direct your kindest thoughts and sincerest prayers in her behalf and that of her family,” Wagner wrote. “As for our Emory family, we will be remembering Abinta in the fall, I am sure, as the family directs and is comfortable.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio each released statements sending condolences to Kabir’s family.

“We are deeply sorry for your loss. On behalf of all Floridians and Americans, our thoughts and prayers will be with all of the victims and loved ones of those who lost their lives in Bangladesh,” Scott said in his statement. “The evil act of terror has continued to impact our state. While we lost 49 Floridians at the hands of ISIS inspired terror a few weeks ago, we have lost another Floridian to the pure evil of ISIS. When one American is attacked, our entire nation is attacked.”

Rubio added: “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Bangladesh and all those countries who lost citizens in this horrific attack. I was saddened to learn this morning that one of the victims is Abinta Kabir, a college student from Miami who was visiting family and friends. From Paris to Brussels to Istanbul to now Dhaka, terrorists continue to answer the call to murder innocent civilians in the name of the Islamic State.”

Friday’s hostage-taking marked a sharp escalation of the militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months. Previous attacks involved machete-wielding men singling out individual activists, foreigners and religious minorities.

About 35 people were taken hostage Friday night when gunmen stormed the popular Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area, a diplomatic zone, during the Ramadan holy month.

Paramilitary troops who mounted the rescue operations in the morning killed six attackers and recovered explosive devices and sharp weapons from the scene. The military said 20 hostages were killed during the 10-hour standoff and 13 captives were rescued.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity online. The Amaq news agency, affiliated with IS, also posted photos purportedly showing hostages’ bodies. The authenticity of the images could not be confirmed.

The attack came during Ramadan, when devout Muslims fast during the day and eat after dark.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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