Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 18:55
'Islamist group claims China station bombing'
By Reuters

 'Islamist group claims China station bombing'
Armed police patrol at the entrance of the South Railway Station on May 2, 2014 after a bomb and knife attack, in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region. (Photo / Reuters)

BEIJING - An Islamist militant group called the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) claimed responsibility for an attack at a train station in China's western city of Urumqi in late April that killed one and injured 79 people, the SITE Monitoring service said.

China had said the attack in its restive Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, was carried out by two religious extremists who were also killed in the blast.

SITE, which tracks Islamist militant statements, said TIP had released a 10-minute video in the Uighur language showing the construction of a briefcase bomb it said was used in the station attack.

"A fighter is shown placing the explosive material and shrapnel of bolts inside a box, then inserting the detonation device in a briefcase with the explosive, and leaving the trigger exposed in an outside pocket," SITE said of the video.

It said the video had been produced by the TIP's Islam Awazi Media Center and posted on its website on May 11.

The TIP, which China equates with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), keeps a low profile in Pakistan. Unlike the Taliban, it rarely posts videos promoting its activities or ideology. Its exact size is unknown and some experts dispute its ability to orchestrate attacks in China, or that it exists at all as a cohesive group.

In a rare but brief interview with Reuters in March, Abdullah Mansour, who says he is the leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she had not seen the video, but that she believed it might further bolster China's position on separatist groups.

"Some violent extremist terrorist groups have now emerged. They are colluding with foreign groups and are attempting violent activities in Xinjiang and other areas in China intended to destroy China's national policy and social stability," Hua told a regular press briefing.

"We hope that everyone can recognise the goal of these violent groups and support the Chinese government's will to crack down on all violent terrorist activities and preserve safety for people and society," she said.

The TIP's claim comes as China tightens security in a number of cities after several recent deadly incidents in different parts of the country.