Cops Kill 13 After Attack On A Police Station In Ethnic Muslim Region Of China

Thirteen assailants have been killed in an attack on a police station in China's restive western province of Xinjiang.

Cover image via BBC

On Saturday morning, police shot dead 13 assailants who attacked a public security building in China's western Xinjiang, adding to the challenge Beijing has faced in the restive region

Thirteen people died while attacking a police station in China's Uyghur region of Xinjiang Saturday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. Three police officers were also injured, when the attackers crashed a truck laden with explosives into a security building in Yecheng County and detonated them.

The attackers drove a car into the station and set off explosives. Three police officers suffered minor injuries but no civilians were hurt.

A file photo of Riot policemen in an unknown location in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on 16 June 2014

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The assailants, called mobsters by the local government, drove an unspecified number of vehicles into a police building of Kargilik county in Xinjiang's Kashgar area and set off an explosion, the official Tianshan website said in a report. The report said 13 attackers were killed and three police were injured, without giving more details. The local government and police weren't immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Xinjiang, a resource-rich area and home to the restive Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, has reported a series of violent attacks in recent months

Security has been tightened in Xinjiang following a string of attacks

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The Chinese authorities blame Muslim Uighurs from Xinjiang for an increasing number of attacks in the province. "On the morning of 21 June, a group of thugs drove a car into a police building in Yecheng County, Kashgar province and detonated explosives," the local government website said.

It was the latest in a series of attacks pointing to growing unrest in Xinjiang, where there is an ongoing struggle by separatist Uyghurs. The rebellion, led my Turkic Islamist militants, wants autonomy from Beijing in the region that they call East Turkestan.

The region is plagued by violent attacks, which Chinese authorities say has its roots in Islamic extremism

Other critics, including exiled Uyghur activists, have attributed the rise of violence in Xinjiang to Beijing's increasingly repressive rule there -- a claim the government strongly denies.

In October, three Uighurs set their car ablaze near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, killing those inside and two bystanders. In March a knife-wielding gang of assailants believed to be Uighurs killed 29 people at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming. And in May assailants hurled explosives into a street market in Urumqi, killing 39 bystanders plus four suspects.

On Monday, China executed 13 people in Xinjiang for what it called "terrorist attacks". The authorities also sentenced three men - believed to Uighurs - over a fatal car crash in Beijing last year.

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Amnesty International has said that Uyghurs face widespread discrimination in employment, housing and educational opportunities, as well as curtailed religious freedom and political marginalization.

The violence has challenged China's strategy for Xinjiang, which has largely relied on a combination of policing and directed investment to boost the economy and soothe tensions between Uighurs and the country's Han Chinese. Some Uighurs believe Han Chinese are reaping most of the benefits of those economic efforts.

Last month, on 22 May, violent terrorist attack in China’s restive Xinjiang region killed 31 and injured 94

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