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Bangladesh attacks kill wife of police officer and Christian

The wife of a top police official known for leading raids against Islamist militants in Bangladesh has been murdered. In a separate attack on the same day, a Christian man has been hacked to death.

A relative consoles the children of Mahmuda Khanam Mitu after she was murdered in Chittagong, Bangladesh

A relative consoles Khanam's children following her death

Brutal attacks in Bangladesh killed two people on Sunday, police reported. Although no group has yet to claim responsibility for the attacks, authorities

suspect Islamist militants

were behind the killings.

The first attack took place in the coastal city of Chittagong early Sunday morning when at least three men on a motorbike stabbed and shot the wife of an anti-terror police superintendent.

Mahmuda Khanam was walking her son to a school bus stop when the assailants struck.

"The attackers came on a motor-cycle. Her son said she was stabbed first. Then they pointed a pistol near her ear and shot several times," Chittagong Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Moktar Hossain told news agency AFP.

Khanam was the wife of Babul Akter, a police official who led several high-profile operations against the banned Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) militant group in recent months.

No one immediately claimed responsibility on Sunday, but police said jihadists could be behind the murder. "We suspect JMB or local Islamist extremists for the attack. Akter led successful anti-militant raids in Chittagong in which several JMB men were arrested," Hossain said.

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Christian grocer in Natore

Also on Sunday, a Christian grocer was hacked to death by unidentified assailants in northwestern Bangladesh's Natore district.

Sunil Gomes, 65, was found by family members lying in a pool of blood following the attack on his grocery store which is located close to a church and a Christian neighborhood, reported Monirul Islam, a local police chief.

Although the motive for the killing is unclear, the attack is similar to those perpetrated against Hindus and other minorities in recent months.

Majority-Muslim Bangladesh has been reeling from

a series of brutal murders of liberals, bloggers, secular activists and religious minorities

by alleged Islamist militants.

Around 40 people have been killed by jihadists over the past three years, police believe. In recent weeks, attacks claimed the lives of a Hindu trader, a

homeopathic doctor

and a

Buddhist monk.

rs/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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