Dhaka : An Italian aid worker has been shot dead in a high security diplomatic area here, the first attack in Bangladesh claimed by the dreaded Islamic State terror group that has prompted many Western embassies to restrict the movements of their diplomats.

  Cesare Tavella, 50, was shot thrice from a close proximity last evening in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic zone while he was jogging, police said.         The attackers fled the scene after Tavella fell to the ground. He was rushed to a nearby private hospital where doctors declared him dead, police said. Tavella was working for the Netherlands-based ICCO Cooperation as manager of its Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (PROOFS) project, a police spokesman said.

“One bullet hit his left hand. He was also shot twice on his back. One of those bullets pierced through his chest,” Forensic expert Qazi Md Abu Shama was quoted as saying.

One of the witnesses of the murder, a rickshaw mechanic, said he saw three assailants fleeing on a motorcycle. One of them was wielding a gun.  “We are not clear who killed him but we think it was a preplanned murder,” Dhaka’s police commissioner Ohiduzzaman Mian told reporters.   Another official confirmed that the killers did not take away the moneybag or his cell phone, indicating that the murder was not carried out by ordinary muggers. In a statement issued in Arabic, the Islamic State (IS) claimed that it killed Cesare, SITE Intelligence Group said. Security officials said this could be the militant group’s first attack in Bangladesh.

Anisur Rahman        

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