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'Islamic State' claims killing of Japanese national in Bangladesh

A Japanese man has been shot dead in Bangladesh, in an attack claimed by the so-called "Islamic State" group. The man is the second foreign national the IS says it has killed there within a week.

The attack took place on Saturday in Rangpur district, 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the capital, Dhaka. Local residents said masked assailants shot their victim a number of times.

The deceased man was identified as Kunio Hoshi, aged around 50. A local police official said Hoshi had started a farm to produce grass.

One witness said three men were standing near a road and shot at Hoshi while he passed by on a rickshaw.

"They fired at him while he was on the rickshaw and left the scene," said the witness, Ayub Ali, speaking with the Associated Press.

Police said they had arrested four people. One was a rickshaw puller and another was the owner of a residence near the site of the attack.

The "Islamic State" (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility, according to the SITE intelligence group, which monitors jihadist postings online. The report could not be independently confirmed, however.

IS has captured large tracts of land in both Syria and Iraq during a brutal and bloody campaign to establish a "caliphate," based on its version of Islamic law in the Middle East.

Saturday's killing comes five days after an

Italian aid worker was killed

in Dhaka, in an attack also claimed by the IS. The Bangladeshi government has dismissed the claim, however, describing the killing as an "isolated incident."

There have been heightened security fears in the country after the violent deaths of a number of atheist bloggers this year, which sparked a crackdown on local hard-line Islamist groups.

jr/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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