BBC reports that the "siege began as diners were gathering to break their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan." Reuters adds, "The restaurant was regarded as a tranquil place that was safe to visit in an increasingly dangerous city."
According to Agence France-Presse, "the army said most of the slain civilians were either Italian or Japanese. Most had been slaughtered with sharpened weapons." The Associated Press reports that a student at Emory University has been identified by the school as one of the victims.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which USA Today noted was "the latest in a series of dozens of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked murders, often by hacking or stabbing but sometimes by shooting, mostly targeting writers, activists, foreigners and religious minorities in the majority Muslim country."
Indeed, earlier on Friday a Hindu temple worker was hacked to death in the south-west of the country in the latest attack blamed on radical Islamists, police said.