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Western Interests in Bangladesh Warn of Terrorist Attacks

Members of Bangladeshi police and detective branch stand by the site where Italian citizen Cesare Tavella was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Dhaka, Sept. 29, 2015.

Western embassies in Bangladesh are warning their citizens of terrorist attacks in that country, after an Italian aid worker was shot dead in the Bangladeshi capital in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

The U.S. Embassy said there was "reliable new information" to suggest militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh, saying such attacks could likely affect foreigners, including U.S. citizens.

The embassy urged U.S. citizens to stay away from events where foreigners may gather and to maintain a high level of vigilance. Canada, Australia and Britain have also advised their officials to limit attendance at events where foreigners may gather.

Italian national gunned down

The Italian national, Cesare Tavella, was shot Monday in the diplomatic zone in Dhaka.

Witnesses said the assailants riding on a motorcycle drove up alongside Tavella and shot him, before fleeing the scene.

Police would not confirm the involvement of the Islamic State group in the attack.

Islamist-related violence has risen during the past year in Bangladesh, where the government is fighting to restrain Jihadist groups.

A Bangladesh-based hardline Islamist group has issued a “hit list,” threatening to kill 20 outspoken Bangladeshi bloggers, writers and activists, most of whom have already fled the country in the face of continuing threats.

The list, issued by banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), raises fears that the Islamic extremists are apparently seeking to take their attack on the so-called “freethinkers” beyond the territory of the southeast Asian country.

In the past two years, 10 secular bloggers and their supporters have been killed by religious extremists in Bangladesh because of writings criticizing religious extremism.