Gay rights activist killed in Bangladesh in suspected Islamist attack

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Bangladeshi LGBT Magazine Editor Hacked To Death

Suspected Islamist militants hacked to death a leading gay rights activist and a friend in an apartment in the Bangladeshi capital on Monday, police said.

The killings took place two days after a university professor was slain in similar fashion on Saturday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.

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Five or six people went to the apartment of Xulhaz Mannan, 35, an editor of Bangladesh's first magazine for gay, bisexual and transgender people, "Rupban," and attacked him and a friend with sharp weapons, Dhaka city police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sordar said.

They entered the apartment in guise of couriers, he said, quoting witnesses.

They also wounded a security guard. Witnesses said the attackers shouted "Allahu Akbar" as they fled the scene.

U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat condemned the killing.

"We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders," she said.

Mannan previously worked at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka.

"Xulhaz was more than a colleague to those of us fortunate to work with him at the U.S. Embassy. He was a dear friend," she said.

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Gay rights activist killed in Bangladesh in suspected Islamist attack
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: Reyhana Begum (in black) receives training at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: 35 year old Shahanara Begum prepares uses her phone outside her home March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Saharan plans to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, and with the money she earns she will be able to repay loans, pay medical bills for her husband, and build a new house for her family. Her husband works as a laborer earning around 5,000 ($63.83) taka per month. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: 35 year old Shahanara Begum poses for a photo in her one room home, which she shares with 8 relatives, March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Saharan plans to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, and with the money she earns she will be able to repay loans, pay medical bills for her husband, and build a new house for her family. Her husband works as a laborer earning around 5,000 ($63.83) taka per month. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: 35 year old Shahanara Begum attends a class at the The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Saharan plans to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, and with the money she earns she will be able to repay loans, pay medical bills for her husband, and build a new house for her family. Her husband works as a laborer earning around 5,000 ($63.83) taka per month. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: A teacher instructs how to make toast March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: A woman takes a photo at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: Women attend a class at the The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: 35 year old Shahanara Begum poses for a photo in her one room home, which she shares with 8 relatives, March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Saharan plans to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, and with the money she earns she will be able to repay loans, pay medical bills for her husband, and build a new house for her family. Her husband works as a laborer earning around 5,000 ($63.83) taka per month. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: Reyhana Begum (in black) receives training at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: Reyhana Begum (in black) receives training at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: Reyhana Begum (in black) receives training at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: 35 year old Shahanara Begum prepares food in her kitchen outside her home March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Saharan plans to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, and with the money she earns she will be able to repay loans, pay medical bills for her husband, and build a new house for her family. Her husband works as a laborer earning around 5,000 ($63.83) taka per month. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: A teacher instructs how to make toast March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: A teacher instructs how to make coffee March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: Reyhana Begum (in black) receives training at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 15: 35 year old Shahanara Begum (in purple) eats breakfast with her relatives, whom she shares the room with, in her home March 15, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Saharan plans to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, and with the money she earns she will be able to repay loans, pay medical bills for her husband, and build a new house for her family. Her husband works as a laborer earning around 5,000 ($63.83) taka per month. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Women practice childcare and household cleaning at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Women are shown how to use a washing machine at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Women practice using a microwave at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: 28 year old Reyhana Begum, who is preparing to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, plays with her children and neighbors at her home March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: A sign is posted in a classroom at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Women practice setting the table at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Signs are posted at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: 28 year old Reyhana Begum, who is preparing to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, folds clothes in her home March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: 28 year old Reyhana Begum, who is preparing to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, poses for a photo in her home with her children March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: 28 year old Reyhana Begum, who is preparing to work as a housekeeper in Saudi Arabia, poses for a photo in her home with her children March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reyhana currently makes around 1,500-3,000 ($19.15-$38.30) taka per month working as a tailor, and her husband makes 5,000-6,000 ($63.83-$76.60) taka per month working as a rickshaw puller. She expects to earn 22,000 taka ($280.86) per month in Saudi Arabia, which she says she will put towards her daughters dowry and son's education. She says that with the money earned abroad she will be able to give her and her family a future and save money. The Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: A women is instructed to use an appliance at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Women practice using the washing machine at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
DHAKA, BANGLADESH - MARCH 14: Women are instructed on using the microwave at the Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila Technical Training Center on March 14, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The training center provides potential migrant workers with the skills they need to earn a living overseas. Bangladesh received $15.31 billion in remittances from an estimated 9.4 million citizens working overseas in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting how migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
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The Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people has seen a surge in violent attacks over the past few months in which liberal activists, members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted.

Five secular bloggers and a publisher have been hacked to death in Bangladesh since February last year.

A group affiliated with al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the killing of a liberal Bangladeshi blogger earlier this month.

Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, and attacks on mosques and Christian priests in Bangladesh since September.

The government has denied that the Islamic State or al Qaeda groups have a presence in the country and said homegrown Islamist radicals are behind the recent attacks.

At least five militants have been killed in shootouts since November as security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamist militants looking to establish a sharia-based Muslim state.

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