The suspected criminals that police killed and nabbed in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday were from a "holy war" training group, local police authorities confirmed Wednesday.
Xinjiang police raided the suspects in their hideout in a residential apartment on Tuanjie Road in the regional capital Urumqi on Tuesday afternoon, shooting and killing five of its members, injuring two and seizing another eight, a spokesman with the city's public security bureau said.
The 15-member group, all Uygurs, consisted of five women and 10 men. They wielded knives and threatened to "perish together" with the policemen when cornered, the spokesman said.
The policemen had been searching for three men in the group after they were suspected to have stabbed a Han woman and seriously wounded her at a Urumqi beauty salon on May 23.
With videos shot at the beauty salon and clues provided by the victim and witnesses, police were able to identify the suspects and uncover their hiding place.
When 15 policemen surrounded the apartment where the suspects were hiding, they found themselves face to face with 15 knife-wielding Uygurs, all shouting "sacrifice for Allah," the spokesman said.
After police used tear gas on the premise, a roomful of people tried to break out, waving knives and injuring one policeman, he said.
"The policemen were then forced to open fire, killing five on the spot and injuring two. The injured were sent to hospital and the other nine people were captured," he said, adding more than 30 knives were found in the apartment, the biggest of which was 50 centimeters.
The suspects confessed they had all received training on the launching of a "holy war." Their aim was to kill Han people, the most populous ethnic group in China whom they took as heretics, and found their own state.
(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2008)