By William Tucker
Chief Correspondent for In Homeland Security
Three people were killed and further 79 were wounded in a terrorist attack on a rail station in the Chinese province of Xinjiang today. Authorities claim the attack was orchestrated using a combination of explosives and knives – familiar weapons used by Uighur militants in the restive western province.
Reports and photos from the scene indicate that the attackers targeted passengers while they were disembarking the train likely to take advantage of the chaos that rail commuters are all too familiar with in most major cities. The station was temporarily closed but has since reopened with police claiming that the situation was “well under control.” Video of the attack and police response was posted to Chinese social media site Sina Weibo, but was removed by authorities rather swiftly.
Though some photos made it past the censors, they are not sufficient enough for tactical analysis. What we do know is that Uigher militants have employed attacks similar in nature in the past and though there hasn’t yet been a claim of responsibility, today’s attack is likely a continuance, and escalation, of violence directed against the rising number of Han Chinese moving to the Xinjiang region. Furthermore, the attack coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the province. T
he militants may have used the visit as an attempt to send a message, but Jinping is likely to respond quite forcefully. This situation is quite likely to get worse over the next few months.