Five Muslims planning ‘holy war’ killed in China: Report

via published on July 9, 2008
BEIJING: Chinese police killed five Muslims who were planning a “holy war” but armed only with knives, state media said Wednesday, in the latest alleged terror threat ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

The five were shot dead on Tuesday when police raided their hide-out in Urumqi, the capital of the Muslim-populated Xinjiang region in China’s far northwest, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities.

Fifteen people, all members of Xinjiang’s Muslim Turkic-speaking Uighur majority population, were at the apartment and had been wielding knives when police conducted the raid, the report said.

“The suspected criminals that police killed and nabbed… were from a ‘holy war’ training group,” the agency said, citing an unnamed Urumqi police spokesman.

“After police used tear gas on the premise, a roomful of people tried to break out, waving knives and injuring one policeman. The policemen were then forced to open fire, killing five on the spot and injuring two.”

It said the others had been detained and confessed to planning terrorist attacks against China’s majority Han population.

Police found more than 30 knives at the apartment in which they were hiding, the biggest of which was 50 centimetres (20 inches) long.

The report made no mention of any heavier weapons, such as guns or grenades.

China has repeatedly warned of a terrorist threat from Xinjiang, which borders Afghanistan and Central Asia, and announced at least five separate raids this year in the region that have foiled attacks.

China said in April it had crushed a group in Xinjiang that was plotting to kidnap foreign journalists, tourists and athletes during the Olympics.

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