According to the SITE monitoring service that tracks military statements, an Islamic militant group going under the name of the Turkestan Islamic Party is making claims that October’s terrorist attack at Tiananmen Square which killed five people was a ‘jihadist operation’ set up by holy warriors, and more attacks on Chinese authorities are to come, SCMP reports.
The service, which tracks Islamist militant statements, said that the party had released a Uygur-language audio speech from its leader, Abdullah Mansour, in which he said such operations by mujahideen, or its holy warriors, were only the beginning of attacks on Chinese authorities.
In an eight-minute message, Mansour said Uygur fighters would target even the Great Hall of the People, where the Communist Party holds legislative and ceremonial activities, SITE said.
“O Chinese unbelievers, know that you have been fooling East Turkestan for the last 60 years, but now they have awakened,” Mansour was quoted as saying by the service.
“The people have learned who is the real enemy and they returned to their own religion. They learned a lesson,” he reportedly said.
The attack occurred on October 28 when a jeep crashed into a guardrail of the Jinshui Bridge near Tiananmen Square, killing three people inside the vehicle and two bystanders.
The crash was determined to be a premeditated terrorist attack by authorities who reportedly found a petrol container, meat cleavers, a metal bar and a flag with extremist religious messages printed on it.
Days later, five people were arrested in connection with the attack, all Uyghurs from Xinjiang.
According to SCMP:
Chinese authorities have blamed what they called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Muslim Uygur separatist group in Xinjiang, for the attack, and arrested five people they said were radical Islamists planning a holy war.
The Uygurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than they are with Han Chinese, who make up the vast majority of China’s population.
It was not clear if ETIM, branded a terrorist organisation by the US in 2002, is connected to the one purportedly being led by Mansour.