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Imam of China's biggest mosque killed in Xinjiang

Published on Jul 31, 2014 11:14 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - The head of China's largest mosque was murdered after conducting morning prayers, the local government in the far western region of Xinjiang said on Thursday, amid intensifying violence in the turbulent region.

Jume Tahir, the government-appointed imam of the 600-year-old Id Kah mosque in the city of Kashgar, was killed Wednesday by "three thugs influenced by religious extremist ideology", the Xinjiang government web portal Tianshan said.

Police launched an all-out investigation and shot dead two of the alleged assailants while capturing the other, Tianshan said. Tianshan added that Tahir's killing was "premeditated" and that the suspects intended to commit a "ruthless murder". It also said they wanted to "increase their influence via 'doing something big'".

Tahir was found dead in a pool of blood outside the mosque's prayer house, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported earlier on its website.

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