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Hindu Priest Hacked to Death in Bangladesh

Map of Bangladesh.
Map of Bangladesh.

A Hindu priest was hacked to death in Bangladesh Thursday, the most recent in a string of killings by Islamist militants.

Shaymanonda Das, 45, was walking near his temple in the southwestern district of Jhinaidah and preparing for morning prayers when three people on a motorbike attacked him with machetes before fleeing.

Though no group has claimed responsibility, the attack bears the hallmarks of Islamist militants who have targeted and killed over 40 Hindu priests, religious minorities and liberal activists over the past few months.

Das is the third Hindu temple worker to be killed in Bangladesh this past month.

The government of Bangladesh launched a sweeping campaign to counter these attacks two weeks earlier, arresting nearly 5,000 suspected militants. Human rights groups around the globe have condemned the arrests.

Last week, a leading Islamic group in Bangladesh issued a fatwa, or religious decree, condemning terrorism and militancy, including violent attacks on non-Muslims and secular writers and activists, as "Haraam," or forbidden and un-Islamic. Over 100,000 Islamic scholars signed the decree.

Islamic State and an al-Qaida faction have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but Bangladesh authorities continue to insist there are no foreign terror groups operating in the country. Instead, officials have blamed local militants or the political opposition.

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