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Bombing in Xinjiang raises concerns over new level of daring, sophisticated attacks

Published on May 1, 2014 2:04 PM
 
Paramilitary policemen stand guard near the exit of the South Railway Station, where three people were killed and 79 wounded in a bomb and knife attack on Wednesday, in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region, on May 1, 2014. A bombing in western China has raised concerns about the apparent sophistication and daring of the attack, possibly timed to coincide with a visit to the heavily Muslim region by President Xi Jinping. "Knife-wielding mobs" slashed at people at an exit of the South Railway Station of Urumqi on Wednesday night and set off explosives, Xinhua news agency said, quoting police. Security is normally very tight at the entrances of railway stations, but exits are often unguarded and crowded. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

URUMQI, China (REUTERS) - A bombing in western China, which killed three people and wounded 79 on Wednesday, has raised concerns about the apparent sophistication and daring of the attack, possibly timed to coincide with a visit to the heavily Muslim region by President Xi Jinping.

Unidentified assailants used explosives and knives in their attack on a railway station in Urumqi, the first bomb attack on the capital of Xinjiang province in 17 years, at a time of likely heavy security and soon after the arrival of a train from a mainly Han Chinese province, state media said.

On Thursday, dozens of black police vans were parked around the station while camouflaged police with assault rifles patrolled around its entrance. Despite the security, the station was bustling and appeared to be operating normally.

The government blamed the attack on "terrorists", a term it uses to describe Islamist militants and separatists in Xinjiang who have waged a sometimes violent campaign for an independent East Turkestan state - a campaign that has stirred fears that jihadist groups could become active in western China.

 
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