|Bangladeshi blogger Niloy Neel|
In addition to police, Imran Sarker, who heads the Blogger and Online Activists' Network in the nation, confirmed the attack. Neel wrote posts condemning the recent killings of three other bloggers in his country. He also routinely posted on women's and minority rights, communal violence and the oppression of Hindus in Bangladesh.
Dhaka Police spokesman, Muntashirul Islam, used a different name for the blogger, whom he referred to as Niloy Chakrabarti. He was killed in his apartment Friday afternoon by a group of five or six men, the spokesman said.
"We know that Niloy used to work for nongovernmental organizations in the past but we are not aware of his journalistic identity. We are investigating," he added.
Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh, an al Qaeda group, has claimed responsibility for the killing.
In an emailed statement to local media outlets, Mufti Abdullah Ashraf, who claims to be the group's spokesman, said: "By the permission of Allah, this operation took place today. We declare war against these worst enemies of Allah and his messenger." CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the statement.
Dhaka police spokesman Muntashirul Islam told CNN that Ansar al-Islam "is not an active group in Bangladesh and is a relatively new name to us." He said investigators "are working to find out about the credibility of the group and the claim."
Neel, who was unmarried and in his late 20s, had been threatened by Islamic extremists before. He contributed to the Mukto-Mona (Freethinker) humanist blogging platform established by Avijit Roy, who was murdered in February.