The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for shooting and wounding an Italian priest in Bangladesh this week, according to a notice released Thursday by the SITE Intelligence Group. “Security detachments of soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh carried out some unique operations (including)… Targeting the Italian Crusader foreigner Piero Parolari,” the jihadist monitoring organisation SITE quoted IS as saying. Parolari, who worked as a priest and a doctor at Suihari Catholic Mission in the northern city of Dinajpur, was shot by three gunmen on a motorbike on Wednesday.
Some background from yesterday’s New York Times:
Unidentified assailants wounded an Italian missionary working in northern Bangladesh early on Wednesday, in the third attack on foreigners there since late September.
The Roman Catholic missionary, Piero Parolari, is a physician who has lived in the region for more than 30 years, according to the police. He was visiting a patient on Wednesday morning when the assailants pulled up behind him on a motorcycle and shot at him.
A bullet grazed the back of his head but did not penetrate his skull, said Abu Tabid Mohammad Zillur Rahman, a senior consultant for surgery at Dinajpur Medical College.
Police officers recovered a bullet casing from the scene, said Mohammad Ruhul Amin, the superintendent of police in Dinajpur district, which is about 250 miles north of Dhaka, the capital. Mr. Amin said that Mr. Parolari was conscious and that his life was not in danger.
Until recently, foreigners have rarely worried that they could be targets in Bangladesh, a vast Sunni Muslim democracy that has enjoyed steady economic growth in recent years, driven by a vibrant garment-manufacturing sector.
The Catholic Herald added Wednesday:
The 57-year-old priest, who also is a doctor at St Vincent hospital, was hit in the neck by a bullet, said AsiaNews, the news agency of the Vatican’s missionary office. After undergoing surgery at a local hospital, he was taken by helicopter to Dhaka, the capital, in critical condition, AsiaNews said. It said several Protestant pastors in Dhaka have received death threats from Islamic extremists in recent days. The bishop of Dinajpur, Sebastian Tudo, called for better security, saying “it is unacceptable that our people become such easy targets,” AsiaNews said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Fr Arolari has lived in Dinajpur for 35 years, treating poor people from the area, said local police chief Ruhul Amin. The town is 415 kilometers (260 miles) north of Dhaka.