Dhaka: A 57-year old Italian priest working as a doctor at a missionary hospital was today shot and wounded by three unidentified assailants in northern Bangladesh, just weeks after two foreigners were killed in similar attacks claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
Piero Parolari was attacked by assailants in Dinajpur and he was being treated for his injuries on the neck at the Dinajpur Medical College Hospital.
Three assailants riding a motorcycle attacked Piero when he was going to the Dinajpur Medical Hospital where he serves as a volunteer physician every morning before going to his Catholic mission hospital, witnesses said.
The person sitting between the two motorcyclists opened fire on Piero from behind, they said.
Locals rescued and rushed Piero to Dinajpur hospital, a police official said.
The attack came over a month after an Italian aid worker -- Cesare Tavella, 50, -- was shot and killed on September 28. Five days later, a 66-year-old Japanese farmer -- Hoshi Kunio -- was also killed by unidentified assailants in a similar attack on the outskirts of Rangpur city.
Both the attacks on Tavella and Kunio were claimed by the dreaded Islamic State militant group. However, the police and the Bangladesh government rubbished the claims, saying the attacks were being carried out by opposition forces that wanted to destablise the country.
"Doctors said his (Parolari's) condition is stable though he was hit on the neck" as assailants fired gunshots, a police officer told PTI.
He said the Italian national was a priest and also worked as a doctor at a Catholic missionary hospital in Dinajpur and came to Bangladesh 35 years ago.
Police has launched an initial probe into the incident to track down the culprits.
"He is now being treated himself at the Dinajpur Medical College Hospital, where he treats others at this time," a doctor at the medical facility told reporters.
The attack came as the hearing of review petitions of two 1971 war crimes death row convicts was underway at the Supreme Court. Ministers and police have earlier said that the attacks on foreigners and secular bloggers were being carried out to halt the war crimes trials.
Police's special intelligence unit in a recent report feared fresh sabotages to halt the ongoing trials and expected execution of several top 1971 war criminals after a series of "systematic clandestine attacks" left nine people dead and nearly 100 wounded in the past six weeks.
There have been a series of murders and attacks in Bangladesh in the past six months.
After Tavella and Kunio's murder, unidentified assailants hacked to death moderate Sufi saint and state-run Power Development Board's former chief Khizir Khan, progressive book publisher
Faisal Arefin Dipon, two on duty policemen, a Muslim Sufi shrine aide and carried out a blast on a Shiite rally, leaving two dead.