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E. Turkistan group 'behind' terror attack
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-08-06 07:01

URUMQI -- The gun and explosives found at the site of Monday's attack that killed 16 policemen in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, point to the involvement of East Turkistan terrorists.

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The Xinjiang public security authority said Tuesday the nine explosives and a gun, all homemade, found at the spot were similar to those seized by police from a training base of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in January last year. The ETIM reportedly uses the Internet to "teach" terrorists in China how to make explosives and carry out attacks.

Two knives and some propaganda posters, calling for "jihad or holy war", were also found at Monday's attack site, which prompted authorities to raise the level of alert across the country, especially in the six mainland cities hosting the Olympic events.

The two attackers, both arrested, are Kashgar residents, a statement said. One is a taxi driver and the other a vegetable vendor.

The attack, just 100 m from the border police division office, was a pre-planned terrorist attack, Shi Dagang, Party secretary of Kashgar, told a press conference Tuesday. The two attackers have confessed to their crime, describing it as "holy war".

The attack has aroused concerns over tourists' safety during the Olympic Games. But Liu Xiaojun, a China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) official, assured people that all necessary security measures have been taken to ensure a safe Games.

"These measures have been taken in line with international security standards," he said. "We will provide the best services to domestic and overseas tourists in accordance with Beijing Olympics organizing committee's requirements and international tourism service standards."

In Kashgar, Shi said 18 ETIM members, all trained overseas, had been arrested this year after the group threatened to launch attacks every month and sent instructions to terrorist groups inside China.

"They plan to turn 2008 into a year of mourning and a year of terror," Shi said.

In two statements posted on the Internet on June 26 and 27, the ETIM instigated residents in Northwest China to wage a "holy war" against local authorities, he said.

The group has also used the Internet to teach terrorist forces how to carry out attacks and make explosives.

On Monday, the two assailants drove a truck into an electricity pole in Kashgar and threw homemade explosives on more than 70 policemen, jogging during their regular morning drill. The attack killed 16 of the policemen and injured 16. The hotel near which the attack occurred remained closed yesterday.

Security checks on roads have been strengthened across Xinjiang and the authorities in Kashgar have ordered a high security alert in public places, including government offices, schools and hospitals.