x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

China blames Pakistan-trained militants for Xinijang attack that killed six

Officials say initial investigation showed members of the group behind the attack on a restaurant attack had trained in making explosives and firearms in Pakistan, though they did not offer any proof.

BEIJING // China blamed Muslim extremists trained in Pakistan yesterday for an attack that killed six civilians in one of the most troubled ethnic regions where police later shot dead five suspects.

Sunday's attack raised the death toll from weekend violence in the Silk Road city of Kashgar in China's far west to 18.

Kashgar is in Xinijang region, which has been tense since nearly 200 people were killed in fighting between Uighurs and Han Chinese in 2009 in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Kashgar's city government said on its website that an initial investigation showed members of the group behind Sunday's attack had trained in making explosives and firearms in Pakistan. It did not immediately offer any proof.

The "group of armed terrorists" stormed into a restaurant in the Kashgar city centre, killing the owner and a waiter and setting the restaurant on fire, the city government said.

The attackers then ran out of the restaurant and stabbed civilians indiscriminately, leaving another four people dead and 12 injured, it said.

Police opened fire and shot dead four suspects at the scene, while another suspect died later in a hospital, it said.

Xinjiang has been beset by ethnic conflict and a sometimes-violent separatist movement by Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group that sees Xinjiang as its homeland. Many Uighurs say they have been marginalised as more majority Han Chinese move into the region.

The statement called the latest violence a "premeditated terrorist attack".