YOKOHAMA – Tamaoki Watanabe, the sole survivor among eight Japanese caught up in a deadly attack at a Bangladesh restaurant earlier this month, has told police he managed to hide in the establishment’s garden, investigative sources said.
The 46-year-old, who is currently recovering in a Tokyo hospital from a gunshot wound sustained in the attack, reportedly ran from the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka as the shooting started, taking cover outside during the 12-hour siege that left 20 hostages dead.
In his first interview with Japanese police, Watanabe confirmed that he had been at the restaurant with the seven Japanese who were killed in the assault targeting foreigners, and said he did not see the other members of his party after running out of the building, the sources said Wednesday.
Of the seven, five were shot, with bullet wounds including to the head identified as the cause of death in at least four cases.
Two police officers and six of the seven assailants also died in the standoff, which ended after military and police officers stormed the building in an upscale area of the capital.
Watanabe was among 13 people rescued by Bangladeshi police.
According to the sources, Watanabe had a calm demeanor while speaking with investigators on Wednesday in a roughly hourlong meeting that took place at the hospital.
The police hope to further interview him about the circumstances of the attack as they pursue an international investigation.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, which also took the lives of nine Italians, two Bangladeshi and one person each from the United States and India.
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