Beijing : Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in a major terror attack by knife-wielding extremists in China’s restive Xinjiang province, police said on Tuesday.

 A gang armed with knives attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku Township in Shache County, Kashgar Prefecture. Some of the attackers then moved on to the nearby Huangdi Township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed. Dozens of Uygur and Han civilians were killed or injured in Monday’s attack, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, according to PTI.

Police officers at the scene shot dead dozens of members of the knife-wielding gang.

Thirty one cars were vandalised, including 6 which were set on fire. Initial investigation showed that it was a premeditated terror attack, the report said. Xinjiang, home to Uighur Muslims, is in turmoil over the increasing settlements of Han Chinese from other parts of the country. The violence has now spread to other parts of China.

Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslims with ethnic fraternity in Turkey, bordering Syria.

Beijing accuses al-Qaeda backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which had bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas, for the unrest in the region.

Chinese security forces launched an-year-long crackdown against the militants after a spate of bomb attacks in Urumqi, provincial capital of Xinjiang which border Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

K J M Varma    

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