An elderly Hindu priest on his way to perform a prayer service was reportedly shot and hacked to death.
Anando Gopal Ganguly, a Hindu priest, was riding his bicycle on his way to a local temple the morning of June 7, reports the Washington Post. Three unidentified assailants on motorcycles allegedly approached the man from behind, shot him, and slashed him with sharp weapons.
CNN and the Post report Ganguly's age as 70; however, the New York Times reports his age as 68.
Gopinath Kanjilal is assistant superintendent of police in the Jhenaidah district, the area where the killing took place. He said Ganguly was found "almost beheaded," according to the Times. He also said he suspected that Islamist militants were responsible for the attack.
While the Post and the Times report that the police do not yet know who was behind the killing, CNN is reporting that ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. According to CNN, the statement attributed the killing to its "soldiers of the caliphate" and expressed hope that "the knives of Mujahedeen will continue until we cleanse Bangladesh from the wrath of polytheism."
Bangladesh has been plagued by a string of unsolved deaths of minority and secular voices in 2016. Victims have included LGBT activists, Buddhist and Sufi leaders, and secular bloggers. Earlier in June, the wife of a senior police official who was investigating these deaths was fatally shot. Various terrorist organizations, including ISIS, have claimed responsibility for most of the deaths, the BBC notes.
However, Bangladesh has reportedly denied that the growing violence is connected to international Islamist terrorism.
Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has suggested that the string of killings is the product of an international conspiracy against the nation. He and other government officials have pointed to Israel as the source of the violence.
"Bangladesh has become the target of an international conspiracy," Khan said in a press conference, according to BBC.
"You must have noticed that an Israeli intelligence agent had a meeting with a politician, it does not need to be verified further, all Bangladeshi know about it," he added.
A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, called the statement "utter drivel" in an interview with the BBC.