Authorities in Bangladesh who monitor social media had come across a number of messages on Twitter that indicated an imminent attack in Dhaka, an official told Reuters. However, police believed that major hotels and embassies would be targeted and were slow to respond when the siege at Holey Artisan Bakery began, said HT Imam, a political advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Security forces had shut down restaurants and important hotels in and around The Westin Dhaka hotel, located about a kilometre from the site of the attack. “This was the first time that such a thing had taken place in Bangladesh. Nobody was prepared for it. They did not realise the gravity of the situation initially…Initial response was slow,” Imam said, adding that the possibility of an “intelligence failure” will be investigated.

Early on July 2, militants took several hostages in the popular restaurant in Dhaka. While 13 hostages were rescued, 20 people were killed before security forces gunned down six assailants and captured a seventh terrorist alive. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the siege, but the government said local banned outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahdeen was behind it.