Italian man dies in Bangladesh shooting: Police

Bangladeshi police officers stand guard on Sept 28, 2015 at the site where an Italian charity worker has died after being shot by attackers in Dhaka.
Bangladeshi police officers stand guard on Sept 28, 2015 at the site where an Italian charity worker has died after being shot by attackers in Dhaka.PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA (AFP) - An Italian charity worker died after being shot by attackers in Dhaka on Monday (Sept 28), police said, in the first attack claimed by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the country.

The 50-year-old man died in hospital after he was shot three times by attackers who fled on a motorcycle, Dhaka police spokesman Muntashirul Islam told AFP.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting, according to a US monitoring organisation.

"A 50-year-old man called Tavella Cesare was shot three times at Road Number 90 in the capital's Gulshan area in the afternoon today," Mr Islam said.

"He died after being brought to a Dhaka hospital." SITE Intelligence Group said a communique by IS claimed that "a security detachment" tracked and killed Cesare with "silenced weapons" in the streets of Dhaka.

The attack came a day after Cricket Australia said it was delaying its departure to Bangladesh for an October tour due to government fears that militants may be planning to target Australian interests.

Cricket Australia said it was seeking assurances from its Bangladesh counterpart before proceeding with the trip.

The shooting also prompted the United States and Britain to restrict movements of their diplomats in Bangladesh and cited "reliable" information that more Westerners will be targeted.

The US embassy said its diplomats were instructed not to go outside overnight following the attack and warned of possible attacks on US facilities, citizens and interests.

"In light of the increased threat, US citizens should consider limiting their attendance at events where foreigners may gather, including events at international hotels," the US embassy said in a statement issued late on Monday.

Britain told embassy officials to stay away from events where Westerners may gather and warned of possible attacks in "late September".

The motive behind the shooting of Tavella was unknown, acting inspector general of police Mokhlesur Rahman said. "But based on our experience, we can say it is a pre-planned murder," he told reporters after visiting the crime scene in the upscale Gulshan neighbourhood, home to several embassies.

An online statement in the name of the hardline Islamist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Tavella. Police said they were not aware of the claim, which could not be independently verified.

Bangladesh prides itself on being a mainly moderate Muslim country. But the gruesome killings of a series of atheist bloggers this year rocked the country and sparked a crackdown on local hardline Islamist groups.

The Bangladesh police spokesman said the three assailants fled the scene after the shooting near the city's diplomatic quarter.

Police said Cesare worked for ICCO Cooperation, a global development agency that has offices in Bangladesh.

No one at ICCO's Dhaka office could immediately be reached for comment and there was no confirmation from the Italian embassy in Dhaka.