Chinese official says foiled Olympic Games terror plot

Chinese police captures, kills alleged Islamic terrorists plotting attacks during games.

olympics 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
olympics 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Chinese police captured and killed alleged Islamic terrorists plotting attacks targeting the Beijing Olympic Games, a senior Communist Party official said Sunday. Wang Lequan, the top official in the far western region of Xinjiang, said materials seized in the Jan. 27 raid in the regional capital, Urumqi, showed the plotters' purpose was to "specifically to sabotage the staging of the Beijing Olympics." "Their goal was very clear," Wang told reporters in Beijing. Wang offered no specific evidence, and earlier reports on the raid made no mention of Olympic targets. The Global Times newspaper published by the Communist Party earlier reported that the group had planned bombings and other "violent terrorist incidents" on Feb. 5, the last business day before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. The paper said police confiscated guns, homemade bombs, training materials and "extremist religious ideological materials" during the raid, in which two members of the gang were killed and 15 arrested. Authorities did not identify those killed and arrested or the targets of the alleged planned attacks. Wang said the group had acted on orders from a Uighur separatist group based in Pakistan and Afghanistan called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM. The group has been labeled a terrorist organization by both the United Nations and the United States. East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang. Chinese forces have for years been battling a low-intensity separatist movement among Xinjiang's Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim people culturally and ethnically distinct from China's Han majority. China says its main terror threat comes from ETIM, although the group is believed to have no more than a few dozen members. Chinese forces reported raiding an ETIM training camp last year and killing 18 militants allegedly linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban. China has ratcheted up anti-terror preparations ahead of August's Olympics, with the nation's top police official last year labeling terrorism as the biggest threat facing the event. Terrorism experts have said the threat of terrorism is low, given China's tight social controls, but warned that Beijing's counterterrorism capabilities are weak, especially in intelligence gathering and analysis.