Bangladesh denies Isis killed Italian aid worker

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has rejected claims by the Isis terror group that it was behind the murder of an Italian aid worker and a Japanese citizen.

Bangladesh denies Isis killed Italian aid worker
Police guard where the man was shot dead in the Gulshan area of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Stringer/AFP

Hasina said that the militants did not kill Cesare Tavella, 50, and that his murder, as well as the separate killing of Kunio Hoshi on Saturday, were carried out by “internal Bengali opposition”.

Tavella died in hospital after he was shot three times by attackers, who fled on a motorcycle, in the Gulshan area of Dhaka last Monday.

Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi postings online, said a communique by Isis claimed that “a security detachment” tracked and killed Cesare with “silenced weapons”.

Cesare worked for ICCO Cooperation, a global development agency that has offices in Bangladesh.

Hoshi was gunned down in northern Bangladesh on Saturday, with Isis also claiming responsibility, according to Site Intelligence Group.

Hasina was speaking during a press conference in Dhaka on Sunday, and added that the attacks were “clearly planned and politically motivated”.

She noted that the killings coincided with a trial against opposition leaders for war crimes, and that the murders were inspired by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Bangladesh prides itself on being a mainly moderate Muslim country. But the gruesome killings of a series of atheist bloggers this year rocked the country and sparked a crackdown on local hardline Islamist groups.


New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”


Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”