Officials in Beijing say that religious extremists were behind the latest ‘terrorist attack’ in Xinjiang on Friday that left 11 people dead and four more injured.
Investigations showed that the clash in Wushi county, in which a group of assailants riding motorbikes and cars launched an attack on police forces, was an “organized, premeditated terrorist assault targeting the police,” according to Xinhua, citing police in Xinjiang.
A group of 13 “terrorists” trained for six months under a man named Mehmut Tohti, who had “spread religious extremism” for three years, Xinhua said.
It did not identify him as one of the mainly Muslim Uygur people who call the region home, but his name suggests he is.
Xinhua said the extremists listened to audio products and watched videos of terrorism content before the attack on police vehicles, adding that since January the group had made explosive devices and knives.
Police said in reports that assailants on Friday were carrying gas cylinders in their cars which they attempted to detonate, killing three in the process.
Eight of the assailants were shot dead at the scene and one was apprehended by police, according to reports.
Previously, conclusive evidence led to police detaining Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist at Beijing’s Minzu University, for his alleged involvement in a series of attacks in Xinjiang.
Police told reporters that he used his authoritative status to influence others overseas and helped organize sending people abroad to carry out separatist activities.