DHAKA: Statements attributed to a regional division of Al Qaeda late on Saturday claimed responsibility for attacks on two publishers in Bangladesh. The two men were stabbed, one fatally, eight months after a similar attack on Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American known for his critical writings on religious extremism, the police said. Both publishing houses had issued Mr. Roy’s works.

The claim of responsibility by the division, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was made in statements posted on Twitter on Saturday. One of them said the two men were “worse than the writers of such books, as they helped propagate these books and paid the blasphemers handsome amounts of money for writing them.” A second statement, titled “Who’s Next,” describes categories of people as “our next targets.” The list includes writers, poets, intellectuals, newspaper or magazine editors, reporters and actors.

The statements will feed into a debate over whether transnational terrorism groups have an organizational presence in Bangladesh, and they follow three similar statements that said the Islamic State had carried out attacks on foreigners and Shiite Muslims. Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has been adamant that the rise in targeted violence is emanating from political opposition figures in Bangladesh, and the police have named or arrested suspects with links to two main opposition groups, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, an allied Islamist party.

As “hit lists” of secular writers circulate on the Internet, many writers and journalists have become hesitant to publish work that could attract the attention of Islamists, and a growing list of activists, fearing for their lives, have applied for asylum in Western countries.

For decades, Bangladesh has struggled to contain a network of domestic militant cells, some of them linked to political opposition groups. They have regrouped this year, carrying out a series of killings, often in crowded spaces in broad daylight, The New York Times said in a report on Sunday. Over the last month, the attacks and threats have proliferated. A month ago, Western intelligence services received information suggesting that the Islamic State terrorist group had plans to ramp up its activities in Bangladesh. Shortly thereafter, two foreigners were shot.