Tiananmen Square terror attack

Islamist group calls Tiananmen attack 'jihadist operation': monitoring service

Holy warriors warn of more strikes, says firm that tracks militant statements

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 November, 2013, 10:50am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 5:34pm

An Islamist militant group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party said a terror attack in Tiananmen Square on October 28 was a "jihadist operation" by holy warriors, the SITE monitoring service said yesterday.

The service, which tracks Islamist militant statements, said that the party had released a Uygur-language audio speech from its leader, Abdullah Mansour, in which he said such operations by mujahideen, or its holy warriors, were only the beginning of attacks on Chinese authorities.

In the attack, a vehicle ploughed through bystanders on the edge of Tiananmen Square and burst into flames, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders.

In an eight-minute message, Mansour said Uygur fighters would target even the Great Hall of the People, where the Communist Party holds legislative and ceremonial activities, SITE said.

The service quoted Mansour as saying: "O Chinese unbelievers, know that you have been fooling East Turkestan for the last 60 years, but now they have awakened.

"The people have learned who is the real enemy and they returned to their own religion. They learned the lesson."

Chinese authorities have blamed what they called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Muslim Uygur separatist group in Xinjiang, for the attack, and arrested five people they said were radical Islamists planning a holy war.

Since the Tiananmen incident, security has been strengthened in both Beijing and in Xinjiang, the restive far western region Uygurs call home.

Some Uygur groups are campaigning for an independent homeland for their Turkic-speaking people.

The Uygurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than they are with Han Chinese, who make up the vast majority of China's population.

It was not clear if ETIM, branded a terrorist organisation by the US in 2002, is connected to the one purportedly being led by Mansour.