Bangladesh police escort, from right, Minhajul Abedin Russel, Russel Chowdhury, Shakhawat Hossain and Tamjid Ahmed Rubel after they were arrested on Oct. 26, 2015, over the murder of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella in Dhaka
Munir Uz Zaman—AFP/Getty Images
By Swati Gupta
October 26, 2015

Police in Bangladesh have arrested four people in connection with the murder of an Italian aid worker in the capital Dhaka in September that was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.

Cesare Tavella, 50, was shot dead on Sept. 28 by three men on a motorcycle who fired at least three times before fleeing. At the time, Tavella had been working as a project manager in Dhaka for a Netherlands-based NGO.

Shortly after the killing, a statement issued in the name of ISIS sought to claim credit for the murder, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors fundamentalist activity online. The government in Bangladesh disputed the claim, however, saying ISIS was not active in the South Asian nation.

Tavella’s murder was followed by the killing in early October of a 65-year-old Japanese man in northern Bangladesh that was also claimed by ISIS.

Speaking to the Agence France-Presse news agency, Dhaka police spokesman Muntashirul Islam said three of the four men arrested over Tavella’s killing were his assassins. “We have arrested four people in connection with the murder of Cesare Tavella,” he said. “Three of them were his killers.”

In the latest attack in Bangladesh claimed by ISIS, at least one person died and several were wounded when a series of bomb blasts tore through a gathering of Shi‘ite Muslims in Dhaka on Saturday. ISIS propagates a hard-line version of Sunni Islam and has previously targeted Shi’ite Muslims in the Middle East.

Officials in Bangladesh played down any links between the Dhaka attack and situation in Pakistan, where a suicide bombing targeted a Shi‘ite procession on the previous day. “This is not a militant attack, rather it is a planned and destructive attack aiming only to destabilize the situation of the country,” Bangladesh’s Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told the Reuters news agency. “Though the attack came hours after a suicide bombing in Pakistan, we strongly believe the situation is not similar at all as we live peacefully with Shia community.”

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