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Authorities announce one-year crackdown on terrorism

By Zhang Yiqian and Li Jian in Urumqi and Chang Meng in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-24 1:38:01

Xinjiang police identify 5 suspects


Police patrol the street in Urumqi on Friday, seen through the shattered window of a pawn shop next to the explosion site. Photo: Cui Meng/GT



Police have identified five suspects who took part in a terrorist attack on Thursday that killed 39 and injured another 94, authorities in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region announced late Friday night.

DNA test confirmed that four of the suspects died in the bomb attack and another one was caught by police on Thursday night in Bayingolin Mongolia Autonomous Prefecture.

The five terrorists were influenced by extreme religious thoughts and violent videos, and formed a gang at the end of 2013.

Xinjiang has launched a one-year crackdown campaign on terrorism, local authorities announced Friday.

Facing increasing terrorist attacks, the region vowed to eradicate terrorist organizations and severely punish the "enemies" using hyper-tough and unconventional measures.

Local authorities pledged to prevent terrorist attacks and extreme religious activities from spreading to other regions and called for unity.

The campaign will mainly target terrorist and extreme religious groups, firearm and explosive manufacturing dens, terrorist training groups and wanted attackers.

China's first national security blue book that was published on May 6 pointed out that intelligence work must be improved in anti-terrorism efforts and that authorities should work harder to get closer to the public and obtain more clues from them.

Two vehicles plowed into the crowd at an open-air market in Urumqi and set off explosives on Thursday morning.

Shops on Gongyuan Beijie, where the explosion took place, resumed business Friday, but the morning market has been canceled.

The street was open to traffic and pedestrians, but Yizhong Park on the street is closed, with police and SWAT teams patrolling the street.

Faruk Yalkun, a Uyghur high school student in Urumqi, told the Global Times that his classmates think such acts undermined the image of Xinjiang and Islam in others' eyes.

A mourning session, organized via the Internet, took place at the explosion site on Friday night. Residents came from all over Urumqi to light candles and incense as well as place flowers.

A parade by armed police, special forces and ordinary policemen took off from the city center Friday afternoon, with local residents from different ethnic groups and ages watching along the streets, hailing "Come on, Xinjiang!"

The police force came in heavy armored trucks equipped with heavy machine guns and vowed to protect people's security. Police helicopters were also seen hovering in the Urumqi sky.

The international community condemned the attack. Diplomats and law enforcement representatives from countries including Russia, the UK, Australia, France, Spain, Pakistan and Iran have sent condolences to the family members of the victims.

The White House on Thursday said the United States condemned what it described as a "horrific terrorist attack" in Urumqi, the deadliest act of violence in years in Xinjiang.

"This is a despicable and outrageous act of violence against innocent civilians, and the United States resolutely opposes all forms of terrorism," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

This is the first time that the US defined a violent attack in Xinjiang as "terrorism" in a formal statement, as compared to the term "violent attacks" in previous incidents including a stabbing and bombing attack at a railway station in Urumqi on April 30 and a knife attack in Kunming on March 1.

The Chinese media has criticized the Western double standard on terrorism, with analysts warning that reluctance to acknowledge terrorism or diverting discussion to China's policy toward ethnic minorities would embolden terrorists to feel supported.

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