Police charge men with murder of Washiqur Rahman, 27, who had written pieces criticising conservative religious groups.
An Italian aid worker living in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka has died after he was shot in an apparent “planned murder”.
Tavella Cesare, 50, was shot three times while jogging at the Gulshan diplomatic zone on Monday night.
A witness told Al Jazeera that he took Cesare to a local hospital, where the victim was pronounced dead.
“It appears to be a planned murder,” Asaduzzaman Khan, Bangladeshi home minister, told the Samakal newspaper.
“Police will also look into whether it was a part of any conspiracy to destabilise Bangladesh.”
Nothing was taken from the victim and police ruled out robbery as a motive.
Mokhlesur Rahman, Dhaka police inspector general (IG), told Al Jazeera that investigators are searching to see if any closed-circuit television cameras captured the incident.
Paolo Gentiloni, the Italian foreign minister, told national news agency Ansa that his office was checking an online claim by a group affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Muntasirul Islam, a police spokesperson, said authorities were also trying to substantiate the purported claim.
Britain’s foreign ministry warned of an increased terrorism risk in the country.
Police in Dhaka said they had no leads in tracing the three unidentified assailants who, riding on a single motorcycle, drove up alongside the victim.
“We have no idea, we can’t say anything definitively for now,” Rahman said, declining to comment on the ISIL claim of responsibility.
“Let the investigation happen.”
Witnesses said the attackers fled the scene after Cesare fell to the ground, according to police.
Cesare was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
His colleague Alo Rani Dhali said Cesare had come to Bangladesh in May to work in the food security sector for a Netherlands-based church cooperative called ICCO.
In a statement dated Monday, ISIL reportedly said a “security detachment” had tracked and killed Cesare with “silenced weapons”, according to the SITE intelligence group’s website.
It warned that “citizens of the crusader coalition” would not be safe in Muslim nations. Almost 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million population practises Islam.
Dhaka police were questioning witnesses including street beggars who allegedly heard the shots and saw the attackers flee, local broadcaster Somoy Television said on Tuesday.
– With reporting by Mahmud Hossain Opu in Dhaka