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Chinese security officials say the explosions in Xinhe in Aksu Prefecture were “organized, premeditated terrorist attacks”.
The Xinjiang police have named Ibrahim Qahar as organizing “illegal religious activities and spreading religious extremism” since May last year.
Qahar, police say, was heading a group of 17 suspected terrorists to make explosives.
The group rode on three motorcycles to set up explosions at a hair salon and a vegetable market at about 6:40 p.m. on Friday, according to the police.
Shortly after the explosions, the police responded and opened fire to fight back attacks by the group when they were making arrests.
Six suspects were gunned down and six others died in explosions.
Five people were arrested and explosives at the site were seized by the police.
China’s energy-rich Xinjiang has been beset by violence as 91 people were killed in the region in recent months.
Signaling a high-powered anti-terror battle, Beijing on Friday announced that the Chinese President Xi Jinping will head China’s national security commission.
The announcement comes amid an increase in Beijing’s counter-terrorist activities, even as a group called the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) sent out ominous threats of future attacks on China.