Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ISIS says it killed Italian on streets of Bangladesh capital

ISIS says it killed Italian on streets of Bangladesh capital

Story highlights

  • Italian Embassy says the ISIS claim "is yet to be verified"
  • Cesare Tavella, 51, was an Italian aid worker living in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka
  • "This is just the beginning," ISIS warns on Twitter
(CNN)ISIS has claimed responsibility for gunning down an Italian citizen on the streets of Bangladesh -- and threatens more attacks to come.
Cesare Tavella, 51, was jogging home Monday evening in the capital of Dhaka after swimming at the American International School's pool.
As Tavella was jogging through Gulshan, the diplomatic zone of Dhaka, two gunmen fired three shots, Dhaka police Deputy Commissioner Munatshirul Islam said.
The assailants fled on a waiting motorbike. Nothing was taken from Tavella, and police said the attack was definitely planned.
ISIS issued a statement saying an ISIS sniper shot and killed Tavella.
The statement said "the soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh" targeted an Italian national, according to Flashpoint Partners, a group that tracks jihadist activity.
It said that ISIS operatives shot and killed Tavella using silencer-mounted guns "after pursuing him in one of Dhaka's streets."
The terror group issued an ominous warning on Twitter:
"We say to all citizens of the Crusader coalition, you will not be safe in the Muslim lands, and this is just the beginning."
The Italian Embassy in Dhaka, however, suggested that it's too early to say ISIS was behind Tavella's killing.
"It's still not clear the motive behind the murder -- crime or terrorist act," the embassy said. "... The responsibility for the murder claimed by ISIS is yet to be verified."

Aid worker fought against hunger

Tavella came to Bangladesh in May, working for an interchurch organization called ICCO, Islam said. He was a manager for a project called "Profitable Opportunities for Food Security."
"Cesare was a hard-working professional, committed to help the people of Bangladesh," ICCO said in a statement. "He was respected and loved by all his team members in the country office and field offices around the country."
The Italian Embassy urged its nationals in Bangladesh to avoid certain types of places "as a precautionary measure" in the wake of Tavella's killing.
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"The Italian Embassy calls upon all the fellow countrymen to avoid places (hotels, restaurants, clubs, international schools) and events which are normally frequented or attended by foreigners."
Fundamentalists have killed several bloggers in Bangladesh using machetes, knives and meat cleavers. But this is the first reported attack by ISIS in Bangladesh, which is a majority Islamic country.
"Although the killing of Cesare might have been an attack of opportunity," Flashpoint said, "the incident raises worries that the group is now attempting to operate and expand in southeast Asia."

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