BEIJING —Andrew Jacobs reports: The Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the arrests of five people described as Islamic jihadists who they say helped orchestrate an audacious attack near Tiananmen Square, the political heart of the nation, that left five people dead.
In a brief message posted on its microblog account, the Beijing Public Security Bureau said the arrested men, all ethnic Uighurs from China’s western Xinjiang region, had enlisted a family of three to drive a vehicle across a crowded sidewalk on Monday and then ignite the car at the foot of the Tiananmen Gate. Two tourists were killed and 40 people were injured as the vehicle sped toward the entrance to the Forbidden City, just yards from the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao.
The occupants of the car — identified by the police as Usmen Hasan, his wife and his mother, also Uighurs — died as it went up in flames. The police say that in addition to gasoline and a gas canister, investigators recovered from the vehicle two knives, metal clubs and a banner bearing “religious extremist messages.” The police did not disclose the content of those messages.
“This was a violent terrorist act that was carefully planned and organized,” the statement said. Read the rest of this entry »