Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has suggested that an Israeli-led "international conspiracy" is behind the recent murders of secularist bloggers and intellectuals.
Islamic State-linked extremist groups have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, including that of Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, who was hacked to death with machetes in the north-western city of Rajshahi in April for "calling to atheism".
The Bangladeshi government has been accused of being denial about the wave of extremist violence, and Khan claimed that an opposition politician had met an Israeli intelligence agent and there was evidence of an "international conspiracy" against Bangladesh.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon described allegations of Israeli involvement reported by the BBC as "utter drivel."
Though officially secular, Muslim-majority Bangladesh has no diplomatic ties with Israel. Recently opposition MP Aslam Chowdhury was arrested and charged with sedition after meeting an Israeli government adviser in India. He has denied accusations he met an Israeli intelligence agent.
Bloggers, a gay rights campaigner, westerners and members of religious minorities been killed in violent attacks in recent months, many hacked to death with machetes.
Khan's comments came the day after the wife of a senior police officer investigating an outlawed Islamist group was murdered. Mahmuda Aktar, a critic of religious extremists, was stabbed and shot to death in front of her six-year-old son the southern port of Chittagong.
When asked about the killings Khan said, as quoted by the BBC: "Bangladesh has become the target of an international conspiracy. And a foreign intelligence agency has joined the conspiracy."
When asked to elaborate, he said: "You must have noticed that an Israeli intelligence agent had a meeting with a politician, it does not need to be verified further, all Bangladeshi know about it." He provided no evidence to substantiate the claim.
The government denies claims of involvement from terror groups Isis and al Qaeda, and has blamed home grown extremist groups and the political opposition. The country has been accused of failing to properly investigate the crimes, with only one alleged attacker so far standing trial.