DHAKA, Bangladesh, April 26 (UPI) -- Ansar al-Islam, a group tied to al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the hacking death of the editor of an LGBT magazine and an actor in Bangladesh.
Xulhaz Mannan, 35, editor of the Roopbaan LGBT magazine, and actor Tanay Mojumdar were hacked to death on Monday. Ansar al-Islam said it killed the men because they worked to "promote homosexuality ... with the help of their masters, the U.S. crusaders and their Indian allies."
Mannan previously worked for the U.S. Embassy and for USAID, the United States Agency for International Development.
"We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the Government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders," U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat said in a statement.
"Today, USAID lost one of our own," USAID Administrator Gayle Smith said in a statement. "He was the kind of person willing to fight for what he believed in, someone ready to stand up for his own rights and the rights of others."
Mannan was killed in his apartment along with Mojumdar in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, where another person was injured.
The Roopbaan magazine received support from foreign embassies and was not condemned by the government. Staff worked to protect their identities and did not believe their lives were at risk. The attackers reportedly entered the apartment disguised as courier company officials.
The attack comes after Saturday's killing of Rezaul Karim Siddique, an English professor in Bangladesh who was hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers while on his way to work at a local university.
The U.S. State Department earlier said it is considering granting refugee status to select Bangladeshi bloggers thought to be in "imminent danger" after 26-year-old Bangladeshi law student Nazimuddin Samad was killed at a crowded intersection in a similar attack.