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China Daily Website

Terrorist group claims responsibility for Tian'anmen attack

Updated: 2013-11-25 18:34
By Zhao Shengnan and Mo Jingxi ( chinadaily.com.cn)

An Islamist militant group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party said a deadly car crash in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square on Oct 28 was a "jihadi operation" by holy warriors, Reuters cited the SITE monitoring service as saying.

According to the Reuters' report on Saturday, the service, which tracks Islamist militant statements, said the group released a Uygur-language audio speech and threat from its leader Abdullah Mansour.

In the message, Mansour said such operations by its mujahedeen, or holy warriors, were only the beginning of attacks on Chinese authorities.

In the case, a jeep driven by Usmen Hasan and carrying his mother and wife from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region crashed into a crowd at Tian'anmen Square. At least two people were killed and another 40 were injured.

Police identified the deadly incident as a terrorist attack and detained five suspects.

In an eight-minute message, Mansour said Uygur fighters would target even the Great Hall of the People, where the Communist Party of China holds legislative and ceremonial activities, SITE was cited as saying.

Li Wei, director of the Anti-terrorism Center at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that the Turkestan Islamic Party's claim is credible, as police investigations have shown a direct connection between the Tian'anmen attack and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

"The Turkestan Islamic Party is an important part of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, an international terrorist group. The party is beefing up terrorist activities amid the political chaos in West Asia and North Africa," Li said.

The party has made similar announcements as early as 2008, including one that threatened seven cities which would host and co-host the Beijing Olympics.

As for the threat in the speech, Li said that the party tries to expand its influence abroad and seeks for the support of foreign powers by doing so. It is also an attempt to lure other national terrorist groups.

Li noted that terrorist attacks bear some unique characteristics and it is hard to prevent such activities.

"However, as it takes some time before they are implemented. There is no need to panic or be afraid as long as precautions are being made."

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