DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 5 (UPI) -- Police in Bangladesh are investigating the possibility of whether a small terrorist group suspected in the death of an American blogger is linked to al-Qaida.
Secularist blogger Avijit Roy, who lived in Atlanta, Ga., was hacked to death in a machete attack in February while visiting Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
The apparent leader of al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, Asim Umar, posted a video on a forum claiming responsibility for the deaths of Roy and other "blasphemers" in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
"These assassinations are part of a series of operations initiated on the orders of our respected leader," Umar said in the video, in reference to al-Qaida's Ayman al-Zawahiri
Several analysts in India and Pakistan expressed skepticism about Umar's claims.
"Maybe they are taking a chance to increase [their] popularity," Lt. Col. Abdul Kalam Azad, director of intelligence for Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion, told the Washington Post. "But, obviously, the video is a new point for us, and we also are taking it very seriously."
Roy's death is part in a series of other attacks.
Four men in Dhaka, Bangladesh, were charged in late March with the death of blogger Washiqur Rahman, who they believed insulted Islam in his writings.
Rahman, 27, was killed on a Dhaka street by assailants armed with knives, who accused him of defaming Islam in his social media postings. Two of the alleged attackers, each a student at a religious school in Chittagong with known links to the conservative Hefazat-e-Islam group, were held by bystanders until police arrived.
Police Commissioner Biplob Kumar Sarkar said the confessions of the two captured men indicate they were acting on orders from another person, and had not read Rahman's work.
The attack came five weeks after Roy was similarly killed on a Dhaka street. Although Bangladesh is officially a secular country, the population of 160 million is overwhelmingly Muslim, and the country has seen an increase in extreme Islamist ideologies.
Hefazat-e-Islam led protests against secular bloggers in 2013, in which nearly 50 people died, and police led a crackdown on demonstrators demanding death for defamers of Islam.
Ed Adamczyk contributed to this report.