China says Xinjiang attack work of extremists

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Associated Press

Posted on February 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 16 at 11:33 PM

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in western China say a group of religious extremists planned and carried out an attack on police officers last week in which police fatally shot eight people.

The violence on Friday in Xinjiang's Wushi county was the latest in a series of attacks pointing to growing unrest in the ethnically diverse region. China typically says the attacks are the work of Uighur separatists inspired by radical Islam. Critics say oppressive Chinese policies and strict religious controls fuel the violence.

A statement on the regional government's news website says a man named Mehmut Tohti headed a group of 13 "terrorist suspects" since September. Citing police investigations, it says the group watched videos with "terrorism content" and carried out training and trial explosions to prepare for attacks on police vehicles.

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