ETIM terror group 'behind Tian'anmen suicide attack'

ETIM terror group 'behind Tian'anmen suicide attack'

CHINA - Terrorist organisation the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was behind this week's suicide attack in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square, China's top security official said.

"This violent terrorist incident in Beijing was organised and premeditated by the ETIM, which is entrenched in central and western Asian regions," said Meng Jianzhu, chief of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Meng was speaking to Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

He made the comments, without giving further details, on the sidelines of a regional security meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, on Thursday.

Two people were killed and another 40 injured at noon on Monday when Usmen Hasan, his mother Kuwanhan Reyim and his wife Gulkiz Gini, from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region drove a jeep into a crowd after crashing into a guardrail on the Jinshui Bridge, which spans the Forbidden City moat.

Two knives, an iron baton and flags related to religious extremism were found in the jeep, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Five accomplices, also from Xinjiang, were arrested. Police found knives and at least one "jihadist" flag at the temporary residence of the suspects, who admitted that they knew Usmen, and to conspiring to plan and carry out the attack.

On Friday, public security authorities released fresh details of the attack. All the eight people came from Hotan in Xinjiang. They prepared 40,000 yuan (S$8,000) for the attack and collected 400 liters of gasoline from various gas stations.

They had checked the site three times before they launched the attack, according to a report by China Central Television.

The United Nations and the United States listed the ETIM - which wants independence for an "Eastern Turkistan" - as a terrorist organisation in 2002. China listed it as one of the four terrorist organisations related to "Eastern Turkistan" forces in 2003.

China said the group was responsible for an attack on armed police in Kashgar on Aug 4, 2008, four days before the Beijing Olympics.

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