— A Japanese man was killed by two unidentified gunmen in northern Bangladesh
on Saturday, less than a week after a similar killing of an Italian aid worker here in the capital was claimed by the Islamic State group.
The police said the man, Hoshi Kunio, 66, was shot three times while riding a rickshaw to a plot of land where he had been cultivating grass.
The gunmen, who were on foot and had covered their faces, fled the scene with a third man who was waiting on a motorcycle, said Rezaul Karim, an officer in charge in Kawnia, in the Rangpur district
, which is about 200 miles north of Dhaka, the capital. Mr. Kunio died on the way to the hospital.
Mr. Karim said it was too early to speculate on a motive in the killing. He said that the authorities had detained three people for questioning, but that the three men who fled on the motorcycle were still at large.
In recent months there has been a heightened wariness about extremist violence in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has porous air, land and maritime borders that could make it a transit point for terrorists, but its people have traditionally practiced a moderate form of Islam, and its governing party, the Awami League, is adamantly secular.
However, a grim pattern of targeted assassinations has taken shape this year. Four activists who had published commentaries against fundamentalist Islam on social media have been murdered in identical, gory fashion, surrounded by young men and killed with cleavers. The leader of Al Qaeda’s branch on the Indian subcontinent claimed responsibility for several of the killings.
Foreign governments have recently expressed new fears that their citizens might be singled out by militants.
Last week, after Australia’s cricket team postponed a planned trip to Bangladesh over such fears, Foreign Ministry officials said they had intelligence suggesting a threat to Australian interests. British authorities on Monday warned their officials to “limit attendance at events where Westerners may gather.”
Hours later, unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle killed the Italiana aid worker, Cesare Tavella, 50, while he was on an evening jog in the city’s diplomatic quarter. Mr. Tavella was a project manager for a nongovernmental organization that works to alleviate poverty in South Asia.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical Islamic websites, said that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, issued a statement later the same day saying “soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh” had followed “the crusader foreigner” along the street and killed him with silenced weapons.
Police officials in Dhaka said that Mr. Tavella’s killing appeared to have been premeditated, but they could not confirm that the Islamic State had ordered it or carried it out. They have made no arrests in the case.