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June 24, 2017

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Six wounded in latest attack on China train station: police

BEIJING -- Six people were wounded in a knife attack at a Chinese train station Tuesday, the third in a series of recent station stabbings with authorities blaming the first two on "terrorists" from Xinjiang.

Police shot one of the attackers at the station in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, the city's public security bureau said in a statement on its microblog, adding that all six injured had been hospitalized.

Four attackers were involved, the People's Daily newspaper reported on its verified microblog, adding they were wearing white caps — often donned by Muslims — and police opened fire on them after they ignored warnings.

Reports said one of the men died, one was arrested and two escaped, with one of them captured later.

The incident comes less than a week after a stabbing spree and explosion at the opposite end of the country left two attackers and a civilian dead, and 79 people wounded, at a railway station in Urumqi.

The city is the capital of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

Last week's blast came as President Xi Jinping was wrapping up an "inspection tour" of the volatile region, during which he called for a "strike-first" strategy to fight terrorism.

"The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," Xi said in comments published last week by the official Xinhua news agency.

Tuesday's incident also follows a March attack at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming. Machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people there and wounded 143 in what many in China have dubbed the country's "9/11."

Authorities blamed both the Kunming and Urumqi incidents on terrorists from Xinjiang whom they say are linked to overseas extremist networks.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to speculate on who was responsible for the Guangzhou attack.

"Whoever carried out this violent action and for whatever reason, they will be brought into justice because these are criminal acts," she told a regular briefing.

"China's government will take strong action to safeguard the life and property of Chinese people."

But Rohan Gunaratna, professor of security studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, told AFP: "The scale of violence in Xinjiang has steadfastly increased and now it is spilling over to other parts of China.

"China faces now a very significant and a really sustained threat from terrorism," he told AFP.

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