ISIS Claims Responsibility for Murder of Italian Aid Worker in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi police officers standing guard  at the site where an Italian aid worker died after being shot by attackers in Dhaka. (Credit: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Bangladeshi police officers standing guard at the site where an Italian aid worker died after being shot by attackers in Dhaka. (Credit: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

The Islamic State has claimed credit for the shooting death of an Italian aid worker in this city’s diplomatic quarter. If the claim is verified, the killing on Monday night will have been the Islamic State’s first attack in Bangladesh, a country that has been grappling this year with a series of gruesome attacks on bloggers who have written critically of Islam.

The aid worker, Cesare Tavella, 50, was shot about 6:15 p.m. on Monday as he was jogging. The police said he appeared to have been ambushed by three men who had pulled to the side of the road on a motorcycle. The men fired at Mr. Tavella at least three times before fleeing on the motorcycle. “We think it was a preplanned killing,” said Mohammad Abdul Ahad, a police official in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.

According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical Islamic websites, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, issued a statement later Monday claiming that a “security detachment” had tracked Mr. Tavella through the streets of Dhaka and then killed him using “silenced weapons.”

No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon, and police officials cautioned that they could not immediately confirm that ISIS was behind the shooting. “We have seen news about this claim, but we will have to examine how authentic this claim is,” Muntashirul Islam, deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said.

According to police officials, Mr. Tavella came to Bangladesh in May to work in Dhaka as a project manager for ICCO Cooperation, a nongovernmental organization based in the Netherlands that works to eradicate poverty throughout South Asia. Mr. Tavella directed a project called Profitable Opportunities for Food Security, which offers business training to small farmers. In a statement, ICCO Cooperation called him a hard-working professional, “committed to help the people of Bangladesh.”

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SOURCE: JULFIKAR ALI MANIK and DAVID BARSTOW 
The New York Times