Attacks against religious minorities and others have been on the rise in Bangladesh over the past year.

But on Friday that violence reached a new level when gunmen took dozens hostage at a cafe popular with foreigners in an upmarket neighbourhood of the capital Dhaka.

It is the first large-scale attack of its kind in the country's recent history.

The overnight siege ended early on Saturday morning after security forces stormed the building, where they found the bodies of 20 foreign hostages, many of whom had been "hacked to death".

American, Italian, Japanese and Indian nationals are said to be among those killed.

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says her administration will do everything it can to crack down on groups linked to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

But what is the government doing to prevent similar attacks?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


K Anis Ahmed - writer and publisher with the Dhaka Tribune

David Bergman - investigative journalist who has worked with one of Dhaka's national newspapers

Shireen Huck - women's rights advocate and member of the Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights

Source: Al Jazeera