'Serious Violent Terrorist Incident' Strikes China

31 dead as bomb-laden SUVs plow through market
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2014 2:44 AM CDT
Police officers stand guard near a blast site which has been cordoned off in downtown Urumqi today.   (AP Photo/Cao Zhiheng)

(Newser) – Assailants in two SUVs plowed through shoppers while setting off explosives on a busy street market in China's volatile northwestern region of Xinjiang today, killing 31 people and injuring more than 90, local officials say. The attack in the city of Urumqi was the bloodiest in a series of violent incidents that Chinese authorities have blamed on radical separatist Muslim Uighurs. The Xinjiang regional government said the early morning attack was "a serious violent terrorist incident of a particularly vile nature."

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, but recent violence in the region has been blamed on extremists from Xinjiang's native Turkic Uighur Muslim ethnic group seeking to overthrow Chinese rule in the region.The death toll was the highest for a violent incident in Xinjiang since dayslong riots in Urumqi in 2009 between Uighurs and China's majority Han left almost 200 people dead. The city was the scene of a bomb attack at a train station late last month that killed three people, including two attackers, and injured 79. In response to the latest attack, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to "severely punish terrorists and spare no efforts in maintaining stability."

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