Al Qaeda branch takes credit for killing of USAID worker

Al Qaeda branch takes credit for killing of USAID worker
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Al Qaeda’s branch in Bangladesh took credit on Tuesday for the killing of a U.S. government aid agency worker and his friend in his Dhaka apartment earlier this week.

In a message on Twitter, Ansar al-Islam claimed that the two men were killed because they “were the pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh.”

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Xulhaz Mannan and his friend, who has been identified as Tanay Majumder, were both LGBT activists in Bangladesh, and many suspected that they were targeted on Monday because of their advocacy work. 

Mannan was the editor of Bangladesh’s first ever LGBT magazine and was also an employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryChimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech Dem Sen. Markey faces potential primary challenge in Massachusetts Judd Gregg: The dangers of the Bolton Doctrine MORE on Monday called him “a trusted colleague, a beloved friend, and advocate for human rights and dignity in Bangladesh.”

“In many ways, he embodied the spirit of the people of Bangladesh and the pride with which they guard their traditions of tolerance, peace, and diversity,” Kerry said.

The two men were hacked to death in Mannan’s apartment, reportedly by men posing as couriers.

On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner could not confirm al Qaeda’s claim but also did not appear to question it.

The claim of responsibility could complicate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s allegations that her political opponents, teaming up with fundamentalists, were behind the attack.

On Monday evening, Hasina suggested that the rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party had aligned itself with the Jamaat-e-Islami organization to “destabilize the country,” according to the Associated Press.