Islamic State claimed responsibility Sunday for the killing of a Christian grocer in northwestern Bangladesh. Earlier in the day, the wife of a top anti-terrorism police official was also killed.
Sunil Gomes, 65, was stabbed to death at his store in the village of Bonpara, local police superintendent Shafiqul Islam told Agence France-Presse. Family members found him lying in a pool of blood. The attack took place close to one of the predominantly Sunni Muslim country's oldest Christian neighborhoods.
Hours later, the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group reported that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for Gomes' slaying via its Amaq News Agency.
Also Sunday, the wife of a top anti-terrorism police official was stabbed and shot to death in the port city of Chittagong. While no group has yet claimed responsibility for her death, authorities suspect Islamist militants may be involved.
Mahmuda Khanam Mitu was walking her son to the school bus stop near their home about 6:45 a.m. when three assailants rode up on a motorcycle and stabbed her and shot her in the head, said Mohiuddin Mahmud, officer in charge of Panchlaish Police Station in Chittagong. She was just 300 feet from her home at the time of the attack, Mahmud said, citing local sources.
Mitu was the wife of Babul Akter, superintendent of the Chittagong Metropolitan Police based in Dhaka. He had led raids against the radical group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, as well as against drug cartels. Investigators were probing whether militants were involved in his wife's death, said Police Commissioner Iqbal Bahar.
"We do not rule out involvement of any militant groups or drug cartels," said Paritosh Ghosh, a senior police official in Chittagong.
"His wife was attacked in his absence," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters at an event in Chittagong a few hours after Mitu's death. "It's inhuman, terrible and a hateful act of murder."
Islamist militants have carried out several targeted killings in Bangladesh in recent months. Rezaul Karim Siddique, an English professor at Rajshahi University, was hacked to death while waiting for a bus near his home on April 23. Islamic State accused him of advocating for atheism.
Days later, Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of Bangladesh's only LGBT magazine, was stabbed to death in his apartment along with a friend, Tanay Majumder. The local branch of Al Qaeda, Ansar al Islam, claimed responsibility for the attack.
On April 30, Nikhil Joardar, a Hindu tailor, was dragged out of his shop in central Bangladesh and killed with machetes in another attack claimed by Islamic State. Police suspect he may have been targeted because he was accused of making derogatory comments about the prophet Muhammad.