DHAKA - South Africa’s women’s cricket team has postponed a planned tour to Bangladesh later this month citing security concerns, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said Monday, in the wake of the killing of two foreigners in the South Asian nation.

The cancellation follows the Australian cricket squad’s decision to call off their two-match Test series in Bangladesh after official warnings that militants may attack Western interests. In other incidents three Islamic attackers attempted Monday to slit a Christian pastor’s throat in a mainly Muslim town in northern Bangladesh. The South Africa women’s team was scheduled to arrive on October 15 to play five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan said Cricket South Africa had wanted a security plan for the women’s team. “They wanted a security report but we thought it would be better to speak face to face in Dubai during the ICC (International Cricket Council) meeting,” the BCB chief told reporters. Hassan said the series was “temporarily postponed by mutual consent” and he hoped it could still go ahead soon. “We also need to know what type of security plan they have in mind,” he added.

The postponement comes amid heightened tension in Bangladesh after an Italian and a Japanese were killed last week in separate attacks claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

The killings follow the murder of four atheist bloggers since the turn of the year, undermining the government’s efforts to play down the threat posed by hardliners. In the incident on Monday, police said three Muslim men attacked Luke Sarker, 52, in his home in the industrial town of Iswardi where he runs a Baptist church.

“As the pastor started preaching Christianity, one of them grabbed him and the two others tried to slit his throat with a knife,” Biman Kumar, head of Iswardi police, told AFP.

Christians and other religious minorities are rarely targeted in Bangladesh. Experts are also dubious about the IS group’s claim of responsibility for the killing of the Japanese and Italian. But they say hardliners, who have been shut out of the political mainstream, are taking increasingly desperate measures in a country known for its religious tolerance.