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September 17, 2009

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Xinjiang police foil terrorists' bomb plots

POLICE in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have captured a terror gang along with materials and tools for making explosives, foiling plans to carry out attacks including suicide bombings, security authorities reported yesterday.

Six suspects, including ringleaders Seyitamut Obul and Tasin Mehmut, were apprehended, and "a large quantity" of explosive material was seized during police raids in the suburbs of Aksu City. Police did not say when the suspects were captured.

An initial investigation showed the gang made more than 20 explosive devices in the suburbs of Aksu after the deadly July 5 riots in Xinjiang's capital city of Urumqi and planned to carry out terrorist attacks, police said.

The riot in Urumqi killed nearly 200 people, mostly ethnic Han.

The gang planned to place bombs on cars, motorcycles and people and "carry out terrorist sabotage activities" but was prevented from doing so by the police action, according to a notice posted on the Ministry of Public Security Website.

In the run-up to last year's Beijing Olympics, police announced they had foiled a series of Xinjiang-based plots to carry out terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a commercial airliner.

Xinjiang remains on edge over the July rioting. A string of recent syringe attacks on non-Uygurs has further unnerved residents, prompting massive street demonstrations in Urumqi earlier this month by Han residents demanding better security.

Large numbers of paramilitary troops have been called out to bolster the region's police force.


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