Seven sentenced to death for Bangladesh's worst terror attack

A Bangladeshi court has sentenced seven members of an Islamist group to death for planning the southeast Asian country's worst-ever terrorist attack.

That took place on July 1, 2016, when five young militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the Holy Artisan cafe in the capital Dhaka's diplomatic quarter.

Over the next 12 hours they killed 22 diners who they'd taken hostage.

The restaurant was popular with foreigners, and the victims included nine Italians, seven Japanese, an American and an Indian.

The attackers were killed in a rescue bid by army commandoes.

The seven men convicted on Wednesday (November 27) were accused of involvement in plotting the attack.

They belong to Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a group that seeks to establish sharia rule in the predominantly-Muslim country.

One of those on trial was acquitted, and a defense lawyer said the seven convicted men would appeal.

The 2016 attack shocked the nation of 160 million - and unnerved businesses, including the vital garment exports sector, and foreign investors.

Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has cracked down on militant groups in a bid to preserve its image as a moderate Muslim nation.

Following the cafe siege, police raided hideouts - killing dozens of militants suspected of involvement, and arresting hundreds more.