The Turkestan Islamic Party which a fortnight ago claimed to have been responsible for a series of China bombings has just released a new six-minute video entitled “Call to the Global Muslim Ummah” (or brotherhood). With his face covered and a black turban, and armed with a Kalashnikov, the speaker urged Muslims in the Uyghur language to “choose your side”. And for those attending the Games, he had this word of advice:
“Do not stay on the same bus, on the same train, on the same plane, in the same buildings, or any place the Chinese are.” [Translation by SITE Intel Group]
Another intelligence agency that monitors terrorist groups, the IntelCenter, believes the speaker to be a certain Abdullah Mansour, which it says is from the group’s religious education department. Added Ben Venzke of the Washington-based organisation:
“I think what they’re doing is they’re trying to capitalize on the buildup to the games.”
Venzke said his group believes that based on the militant group’s demonstrated ability to conduct bombings “and the apparent opportunity TIP believes the Olympic Games presents in terms of targeting and striking a blow to China, that the threat is credible and should be taken seriously.”
He said the release of a five-page written threat, in conjunction with two videos over the last three months by the group “is indicative of an orchestrated campaign designed to fulfill jihadists belief that they should provide warning before launching a significant attack.”
But don’t go selling your Olympic tickets just yet because other terrorism experts say the new video is little cause for alarm:
More than 100,000 soldiers and police were guarding Beijing and other Olympic co-host cities. Terrorism experts say the heavy security presence would likely force attackers to target less-protected areas.
“I think the actual Olympics themselves, the venues, the guests, the athletes, are going to be safe,” said Drew Thompson, director of China studies at the Nixon Center in Washington. “I would not be an alarmist.”
Thompson added that Uighur groups haven’t demonstrated they have the capacity to attack Beijing or other host cities during the games.
In the meanwhile, a wary calm has descended upon Kashgar after a Monday attack on a police outpost that left 16 policemen dead and as many injured.
Previously on Shanghaiist:
Turkestan Islamic Party takes credit for Shanghai and Kunming bus blasts, and warns of more to come; China denies claims
Attack on Xinjiang police station leaves 16 cops dead