A Hindu priest has been killed in Bangladesh, in the latest attack by suspected Islamist militants.

The body of Ananda Gopal Ganguly, 70, was found in a field near his temple in western Jhenaidah district. His head had been nearly severed from his neck.

Separately, police have killed three suspected Islamists in a crackdown on extremists blamed for the murders.

Critics say the government is in denial about the killings, most of which have been blamed on or claimed by Islamists.

Two alleged members of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were shot dead in Dhaka when police raided a home in the city – police said unidentified gunmen opened fire on them.

A third – said to have been linked to a recent bombing of an Ahmadiya mosque – was killed in western Rashahi district.

Ananda Gopal Ganguly is the third person to be killed in such an attack in the past two days.

“He left home this morning saying that he was going to a Hindu house to offer prayers,” deputy police chief Gopinath Kanjilal told AFP news agency. “Later, farmers found his near-decapitated body in a rice field.”

No group has said it carried out the attack and police do not think there were any witnesses.

On Sunday the wife of a senior police officer investigating the attacks and a Christian businessman were killed.