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B’desh tour in doubt as Aussies return

Australia’s two-Test tour to Bangladesh remained on hold on Wednesday with players returning to their home after new warnings about security in the south Asian nation. 

Cricket Australia delayed the departure of the Test team on Sunday after receiving advice from foreign ministry officials that militants may be planning attacks on Australian interests in the country.

“There has been no change to the situation or our current position,” a Cricket Australian official told AFP via email.

“While we’re waiting for a decision, players have been asked to re-join their state training programs.” Bangladesh has insisted that the players will be given the level of security usually reserved for visiting heads of state, with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan saying the “highest security protocol” would be provided. But the death of an Italian aid worker in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter -- shot three times on Monday night by attackers who fled on a motorcycle in a murder claimed by Islamic State group -- has escalated safety fears. International schools in Bangladesh were closed on Tuesday while Western embassies restricted their diplomats’ movements. The British Foreign Office has warned against attending gatherings of westerners in Bangladesh due to “reliable information” militants may be planning to target western interests. The US embassy in Dhaka said its diplomats would be barred from attending international hotels and advised citizens to follow suit.

“There is reliable new information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh,” the embassy said in a security message.
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