Tag Archives: Turkestan Islamic Party

16 Police Killed In ‘Suspected Terror Raid’

Eighty miles from the point where Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgystan and China meet is about as far as you can get from Beijing. But Kashi, or Kashgar as it is also known, in the west of Xinjiang, is where the terrorist threat to the Olympic games the authorities have repeatedly warned about has materialized.

Two attackers killed 16 police and wounded 16 more on Monday, according to Xinhua. They reportedly drove a truck at a group of 70 police out on a morning jog, lobbed grenades and homemade explosives and attacked with knives. The two attackers, said to be Uighurs in their 20s, have been detained.

They are suspected to have struck in the cause of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or the Turkestan Islam Party, an amorphous organization which claimed responsibility for bombings in Shanghai and Kunming earlier this year, and promised more attacks on the Games. We posted on that last month in “China Probes Beijing Olympics Terror Threat“.

Beijing has been fighting a low-key if heavy handed war against Muslim Uighur separatists for years and has claimed to have foiled in recent months several Olympics-related plots ETIM was said to be planning. The organization has been internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, if somewhat reluctantly by Western nations concerned about China’s treatment of its western minorities.

Kurexi Maihesuti, vice chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said in Beijing last week that Xinjiang police had uncovered five terrorism groups in the first half of this year, arresting 82 suspected Olympic saboteurs. How much capacity ETIM has to mount a spectacular at or close to an Olympic venue is a moot point, especially with the capital under an intense security lockdown.

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China Probes Beijing Olympics Terror Threat

China says it is investigating a claim by a Uighur separatist group, the Turkestan Islamic Party — better known as the Islamic Party of East Turkestan (ETIM) —  that it was behind several recent attacks, the BBC reports.

The include the May 5 Shanghai bus bombing that killed three, another unspecified Shanghai attack, a tractor-bombing of police in Wenzhou on July 17, a bombing of a Guangzhou plastic factory the same day and the bombings of three buses in Kunming on July 21 that killed at least two that we noted here.

The group has released a video in which Commander Seyfullah said there wold be more to come, according to a transcript from the Washington-based Intel Center:  “Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed.” Commander Seyfullah said the group would focus on the eight cities that were Olympic venues and might use biological weapons.

ETIM is an ethnic Uighur and Muslim separatist group seeking to create an independent state out of heavily Muslim Xinjiang province. It was designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York, though somewhat reluctantly and at the lower of its two levels of designation as Washington wants China to recognize the legitimate rights of the Uighur minority.

Authorities have previously denied the explosions were the work of militants but have warned of threats to the Games. We posted about this in March. Earlier this month, officials said they had broken up five terrorist groups in Xinjiang, and that 82 suspected terrorists had been arrested this year for plotting to sabotage the Beijing Games.

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