The police in China arrested five suspects on Wednesday evening in connection with the Monday's deadly car crash suicide terror attack at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, state media reports. It was also revealed that the SUV used in the attack was registered in China's restive Xinjiang province. Reports say police also found a petrol container, two knives, extremist flag and religious slogans in the vehicle. The five were arrested after police raided a "temporary residence" used by the attackers. The police have recovered "knives and at least one 'jihad' flag" from the residence.
As reported earlier, police had spread a dragnet across Beijing to capture the suspects, with hotels and vehicles being searched.
Police identified the driver of the SUV used in the terror attack, as Usmen Hasan. Two other passengers in the vehicle were his mother and wife. They drove the SUV up the front of the Forbidden City on Tiananmen Square, during lunch hour on Monday, set fire inside the car and crashed into a bridge killing themselves and two pedestrians - a Filipino woman and a Chinese man. At least 38 others have are reported to be injured.
People walk along the sidewalk of Chang'an Avenue as smoke raises in front of the main entrance of the Forbidden City at Tiananmen Square in Beijing October 28, 2013. Five people were killed and dozens injured on Monday, the government said, when a car ploughed into pedestrians and caught fire in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the site of 1989 pro-democracy protests bloodily suppressed by the military. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, asked whether the government believed the incident was a terror attack, said she did not know the specifics of the case and declined further comment. (REUTERS/Stringer)
Xinhua, China's official news agency quoted the police describing the attack as "carefully planned, organized and premeditated."
"Police found gasoline, equipment full of gasoline, two knives and steel sticks as well as a flag with extremist religious content in the jeep," Xinhua reported.
"This violent terrorist attack has caused casualties among innocent people. It has revealed once again the hideous face and the ferocious nature of these criminals," said a report on China's state-sponsored CCTV television channel shortly after the announcement of the arrest was made.
Blaming the attack on "violent terrorists, separatists and religious extremists," the CCTV report said: "We firmly believe that the Party and the government have the ability and the strength to strike and defeat all violent terrorist activities, to maintain the safety of people's lives and belongings, the stability and harmony of society and the common interests of people in all ethnic groups across the country."
Xinjiang is a Muslim majority province, home to the Uighur ethnic minorities, several of whom resent Chinese authority and repression of their religion and culture. Extremist groups in the region have been carrying out alleged terror attacks campaigning for a separate Muslim state called East Turkestan.
In a major crackdown recently, Chinese authorities have arrested over 139 Uighur Muslim activists in the Xinjiang province on charges of promoting jihad online.
Following Chinese request, Pakistan too has banned three Islamic outfits which were alleged to be carrying out insurgent activities in China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang province. The three banned outfits are the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). China blames these organisations for inciting the local population on religious grounds and carrying out extremist activities.
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