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Violence appears to have spread in China's Xinjiang after deadly attack

Published on Jul 30, 2014 5:15 PM
This picture taken on June 6, 2014, shows security forces participating in a military drill in Hetian, north-west China's Xinjiang region. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - Western tourists saw a body lying in a pool of blood in a major city in China's violence-prone Xinjiang province on Wednesday, as security forces flooded in after the government said dozens of knife-wielding attackers were shot dead elsewhere in the region earlier in the week.

There were indications that unrest had spread by Wednesday to Kashgar, a popular tourist site especially during the summer.

A French traveller said he saw a body lying in a pool of blood outside the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar's old town on Wednesday morning, and armed police pouring into the city by afternoon. "We heard shouting and my friend saw two people running away with knives. Police came quickly and told people not to take pictures. They checked mobile phones," he told Reuters by telephone. He added that it was the reasons for the violence were unclear and he could not tell if those involved were Uighur or members of China's majority Han ethnicity.

When leaving Kashgar on Wednesday, the traveller said a long convoy of armed police vehicles, including at least five armoured personnel carriers, drove into the city. "All cars coming into Kashgar were being turned around," he said. "These were urban tanks with machine guns, not water cannon," another European citizen accompanying him said.

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