UPDATE 1-Western retail giants restrict travel to Bangladesh after attacks

Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:17am EDT
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* Islamic State claims it killed two foreigners; govt rejects claims

* Garment suppliers say some customers cancelled trips

* Others wanted to meet outside Bangladesh or hold video calls (Adds Japan's Fast Retailing in paragraph 12)

By Ruma Paul

DHAKA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Business executives from global clothing giants H&M Inditex and Gap have cancelled trips to Dhaka this month after the killings of two foreigners, industry sources said, causing anxiety for Bangladesh's $25 billion garment export sector.

Bangladeshi suppliers to the world's top brands said they didn't expect the disruptions to hurt their orders for the year-end Christmas season.

But the attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, increase the pressure on an industry which faces competition from other low-wage countries and is trying to repair its safety image after several fatal accidents.

The United States and Canada have asked their diplomats to restrict their movements, and Britain warned of more attacks after an Italian aid worker and a Japanese man were shot dead a few days apart. Australia cancelled a cricket tour.

Bangladesh's government, however, rejected the claim by the Islamic State and blamed the growing violence in the country on its domestic political opponents trying to show it in poor light. The attacks on foreigners, while rare, follow the killings of four Bangladeshi bloggers this year by machete-wielding assailants, and have spawned fear among the foreign community.   Continued...