Officials Suspect Muslim Terrorists in China Blast

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Chinese authorities believe radical Muslims are behind a Thursday morning attack that killed at least 31 people and left more than 90 wounded in the northwest province of Xinjiang.

According to China's official Xinhua News Agency, the attackers drove off-road vehicles through a busy, open-air street market in the city of Urumqi and threw explosives into the crowds before crashing.

The agency reported one of the vehicles then exploded. According to an eyewitness, there had been up to a dozen blasts in all.

Thursday's incident is the deadliest in a series of attacks on the region in which officials suspect a Muslim separatist group is responsible.

The Uighur, a Turkic-speaking mostly Muslim people group, reside in Xinjang. Tensions between the Uighur and the Han Chinese majority have escalated in recent years.

***CBN News Sr. International Reporter George Thomas talked more about the Uighur and why they oppose the Chinese government on CBN Newswatch, May 22.

Previous attacks targeted state institutions, specifically police stations. Now attackers are targeting public places, leading experts to think it is the work of terrorists.

"These low-technology, even opportunist-type, attacks on more public targets are difficult for any state to combat," Michael Clarke, an expert on Xinjiang at Australia's Griffith University said, according to USA Today.

Clarke referred to the public place attacks as "a hallmark of modern terrorism."

Ethnic riots in the city in 2009 killed almost 200 people.

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