ISIS have claimed responsibility for the shooting of an Italian missionary in Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Father Piero Parolari, an Italian missionary doctor aged 64, was shot and wounded in an ambush in northern Bangladesh. ISIS' Bangladesh affiliate have released a statement in Arabic claiming responsibility for the attack.
The priest is understood to be in a stable condition in hospital after being attacked by three men on a motorbike while cycling to work in Dinajpur. He is no longer in intensive care. As well as suffering from gunshot wounds, Parolari has slashes to the head and is heavily bruised around the eyes. Doctors have also found three broken ribs.
"He is heavily medicated, but doing well; conscious and responding to stimulation," a Catholic source told AsiaNews.
"We are relieved," said Father Carlo Dotti, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) house in Dhaka where Parolari was based. "The grace of God protected him, because the attackers wanted to kill him."
The shooting is the fifth attack in Bangladesh claimed by ISIS in recent months following the murder of another Italian aid worker in September and a Japanese citizen in early October.
ISIS' activity in Bangladesh coincides with a rise in militant Islam in the country. As well as religious minorities, several atheist bloggers have been hacked to death this year for criticising Islam.
After this latest attack many priests in Dinajpur have ben placed under military protection and police have told other members of PIME "to stay at home and only go out under escort," according to AsiaNews.
The manner of the attack suggests it was premeditated but it is the first of its kind against the Catholic community.