BEIJING - Several people were killed and injured when two vehicles ploughed into a market and explosives were thrown in China's restive Xinjiang region, home to mostly Muslim Uighurs, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Two off-road vehicles drove into people at the market in the regional capital Urumqi, with one of them exploding, Xinhua said, the latest apparent violent incident in the far western region.
Pictures posted on Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, showed victims lying in a tree-lined street, as others sat on flimsy stools.
Flames rose in the background, while other images showed smoke billowing over market stalls behind a police roadblock. None of the photographs could immediately be verified.
A witness at the market told Xinhua he heard a dozen "big bangs" during the incident, which happened at about 7:50am (2350 GMT), when Chinese morning markets, which usually sell fresh groceries, are commonly crowded with shoppers.
"There were multiple strong explosions in the morning market at the Cultural Palace in Urumqi," wrote one Weibo poster who said he was less than 100 metres (yards) from the scene.
"I saw flames and heavy smoke as vehicles and goods were on fire while vendors escaped leaving their goods behind." All the injured had been sent to hospital, the Xinjiang regional government's web portal Tianshan said.
Beijing sees separatist threat
The vast, resource-rich far-western region has seen periodic violence which has increased and sometimes spread beyond it in recent months.
Beijing says it faces terrorism from a violent separatist movement there, driven by religious extremism and foreign groups.