Christian hacked to death in latest Bangladesh attack

A 65-year-old was hacked to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh

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A Christian was hacked to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh in an attack – the latest in a series on religious minorities – claimed by ISIS.

Police said unidentified attackers murdered the 65-year-old in the village of Bonpara, home to one of the oldest Christian communities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

“Sunil Gomes was hacked to death at his grocery store just near a church at Bonpara village,” Shafiqul Islam, deputy police chief of Natore district that includes Bonpara, told AFP.

IS claimed responsibility for the murder through its Amaq news agency, according to the SITE monitoring group, saying it was “part of a series of operations” in Bangladesh.

The killing came just hours after the wife of a top anti-terror officer was brutally murdered in the southeastern city of Chittagong by suspected members of a banned local extremist group.

Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of murders of secular and liberal activists and religious minorities that have left more than 40 people dead in the last three years.

Authorities have blamed homegrown Islamists for the attacks, which have spiked in recent weeks, rejecting claims of responsibility from IS and a South Asia branch of Al-Qaeda.

Bangladesh’s secular government accuses political rivals including the largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami of trying to destabilise the country. Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on Jamaat following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.

An investigating officer, Inspector Abdur Razzak, said the motive for the latest killing was unclear, but it was similar to those of Hindus and members of other religious minorities in recent months.