Beijing, May 23 (): Two cars ploughed through crowds in a busy open market in the troubled Xinjiang region of China on Thursday, killing 31 people and wounding more than 90, state media reported, calling the act as a dreadful act of terrorism.
The incident happened when a pair of trucks ruined the metal barriers and ran through the crowds in an early morning market at 7:50 a.m., in the far western city of Urumqi, capital of the unstable Xinjiang region. Reports from the state media said the cars drove very close to the people, their occupants threw explosives as they passed by, before crashing head-on into each other.
One of the cars then exploded and the flames shot out as high as a one-storey building, a witness said. This incident is the bloodiest and latest in a growing number of bold attacks by terrorists among the Turkic Muslim Uighur ethnic group that is native to the area.
Witnesses said the cars had no number plates. They flew two small black flags carrying writing in the local Uighur language. It was said a potato vendor heard a dozen explosions. The footages showed bodies lying in the street, with large flames in the distance, and other people sitting among scattered boxes and vegetables looking shocked.
Chinese officials said the region has been in the surge of terror attacks in the recent months, associated with the Uighur separatist groups. In knife attacks that struck railway stations in Urumqi, southwestern Kunming in Yunnan province and southern Guangzhou more than 30 people have been killed and at least two hundred were injured.
The attacks were supposed to be done by the Uighur Islamist groups. On Wednesday, a court in Urumqi sentenced 39 Uighurs on terror charges.
Ethnic tensions between Uighurs and Han Chinese people, millions of whom have migrated to resource-rich Xinjiang in recent decades, have boiled over into deadly clashes repeatedly and riots with authorities in recent years.