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Sri Lanka probing reports of two nationals held hostage in Dhaka: Deputy FM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is probing reports of at least two nationals held hostage at a café in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said.

"Our Deputy Chief of Mission in Dhaka in touch with Police regarding the two individuals suspected to be among the hostages in the café," de Silva said in a twitter.com message.

Gunmen have stormed a restaurant popular with expatriates in the diplomatic quarter of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka and has taken around 20 people hostage, including several foreigners, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

Reports said Italian and Indian nationals are among the hostages.

The gunmen are believed to carrying assault rifles and grenades, and have exchange fire with police, leaving two people dead.

"We are discussing ways to rescue the people, including foreigners, who are inside the cafe," police official Mohammad Habibur Rahman was quoted as saying by Reuters, a news agency.

"Our priority is to rescue them peacefully without the loss of any life."