Terrorist attack in China kills 16 police officers just days before Olympics
Looks like China's terror worries were real afterall......hope nothing goes wrong during the Games itself.
And just think, in 18 months the world will be turning to Vancouver. The RCMP and military better be ready for it....
It's scary to think that all that has to be done to put the 2010 Games in a knot is to somehow close down the Sea-to-Sky highway and/or the Lions Gate Bridge.
Grenade attack kills 16 policemen on Chinese border
Tania Branigan in Beijing
Monday August 4 2008
Attackers have killed 16 policemen and injured 16 more in a suspected terrorist raid in north-west China's restive region of Xinjiang this morning, the state media have reported.
Two assailants used a dump truck to target a paramilitary police border post near Kashgar, running down and then knifing a team of policemen on their morning drills before exploding grenades, the state news agency Xinhua said.
The area is already under tight security in the run-up to the Olympics, which begin in just four days. The authorities have repeatedly accused Uighur Muslim separatists seeking an independent "East Turkestan" of plotting violent attacks and recently claimed to have arrested 82 people in Xinjiang this year in connection with terrorism.
Human rights campaigners and Uighur exiles argue that the government has exaggerated the threat of violence, and deliberately blurred the distinction between extremism, pro-independence arguments and cultural expression to justify repression in the region.
Xinhua reported that the attackers struck as paramilitary police were on their morning drills just outside their station. As the lorry veered off the road, the attackers jumped out, throwing two grenades into the barracks and hacking at the policemen with knives. Fourteen officers were killed on the spot and two more died on the way to hospital. The raiders were arrested.
State television gave a different account, saying the police were attacked while marching in front of a hotel on morning drills.
Xinhua claimed today that Xinjiang's public security bureau had found evidence suggesting that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim) were planning attacks in the run up to the Opening Ceremony on Friday.
A 100,000-strong security force is on standby in Beijing - around 2,500 miles away from Kashgar - and Reuters news agency reported an unusually heavy police presence around Tiananmen Square, the political heart of Beijing.
But terrorism experts had suggested that the security crackdown in the capital and other Olympic host cities meant attacks were more likely in other areas.
Kashgar, known to the Chinese as Kashi, is an old Silk Road city and was traditionally regarded as the Uighur capital of the region.
Turkic-speaking Uighur Muslims form around 8 million of Xinjiang's 19 million population. Many resent controls on religion and growing Han Chinese immigration.
Occasional violence in the 1990s brought a clamp down from Beijing, which stationed paramilitary units in the area and targeted unregistered mosques and religious schools which officials claimed were inciting militant action.
Etim was deemed a terrorist organisation by both the United Nations and the United States. But while it has a history of working with foreign groups, some analysts believe that its links to al-Qaida were overstated and are now defunct. They have also suggested that the organisation has dwindled.
Last week, the Chinese officer in charge of Olympics security said that "East Turkestan terrorist groups" represented the greatest threat to the games.
But on the same day, Kuerxi Maihesuti, vice-governor of Xinjiang, said they were "not that capable of instigating massive sabotage activities".
He added: "There are only a very small number of sabotage activities in Xinjiang and many were nipped in the bud."
The government has also played down the recent emergence of a video in which a trio of men identifying themselves as the little-known Turkestan Islamic party (Tip), claiming responsibility for bus blasts in China and threatening more attacks during the Olympics. Officials said that explosions in Shanghai in May and Kunming last month had been deliberate but not terrorist-related.
Analysts Stratfor suggested Tip and Etim were one and the same, but other experts believe they are separate organisations.
Last edited by mr.x; Aug 4, 2008 at 8:33 AM.