Italian shot in latest attack on foreigners in Bangladesh

DHAKA: An Italian doctor working as a missionary was shot and wounded in the neck during an attack by three assailants in northern Bangladesh yesterday, police and a doctor said, in the latest in a series of attacks on foreigners. The assault on the doctor, identified by Italian newspapers as Piero Parolari, in the Muslim-majority country follows the killing of another Italian and a Japanese citizen in attacks claimed by Islamic State at the end of September and early October.

The latest attack took place in Dinajpur district, 414 km north of the capital Dhaka, where Parolari has been carrying out missionary work and medical services among the poor for the last 10 years. Police had earlier said he had been stabbed. Parolari had been moved to a hospital in Dinajpur town, according to Abdul Khaleque, officer in charge of Dinajpur Sadar police station. Dharani Kanto, an auto rickshaw driver, told Reuters that he had taken Parolari to hospital. “No one was attending to him, so with the help of two other people I rushed him to the hospital,” Kanto said.

The attackers fled on a motorcycle, and fired shots to frighten off people chasing them, a senior police official said. Bangladesh has suffered a rising tide of Islamist violence over the past year. Four online critics of religious militancy have been hacked to death, among them a US citizen of Bangladesh origin. And, on Sept 28, an Italian aid worker was shot in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter by three gunmen on a motorcycle. A few days later a Japanese man was also shot. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Dhaka last month that killed one person and wounded dozens.

The government has rejected the Islamic State claims and has blamed the rising violence on political opponents. Humayun Kabir, a Deputy Inspector General of police for the northern region, told Reuters that security in the area had been tightened. He linked the attack on the Italian missionary to death sentences handed down to the leaders of two opposition parties who have been found guilty of committing war crimes during the 1971 war of independence. “The motive of the attack was to create a destructive and unstable situation in the country to prevent on going trial of war criminals,” Humayun said.- Reuters

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