Beijing: Fifteen people were killed and 14 others injured when militants armed with knives and bombs attacked crowds at a food street in China's restive northwestern Xinjiang province, official media reported on Saturday.
The attack occurred yesterday at a food street in Shache county at 1:30 pm (local time) when "mobsters" threw bombs and attacked people with knives, state-run Xinhua news agency reported adding that police patrolling nearby killed 11 of the attackers. In all, 15 people were killed while 14 others were injured, the report said.
A number of explosive devices, knives and axes were found at the scene. The injured have been rushed to hospitals.
The attack was similar to the one carried out in July this year at Shache, Kashgar Prefecture, in which militants along with a large number of locals armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and other places killing 37 people.
A local court had sentenced 12 of the attackers to death and 15 others to death with a two-year reprieve.
Kashgar borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), as well as a brief stretch of Afghanistan.
Xinjiang, home to over 11 million ethnic Uygur Muslims, has been restive for several years due conflict between locals and migrant Han Chinese from other provinces.
It has experienced a spate of violent attacks in the last few years which China blames on the al-Qaeda-backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
The violence in Xinjiang and parts of the country has led to scores of deaths.
Yesterday's attack came as China is set to enforce a new regulation prohibiting people from wearing or forcing others to wear clothes or logos associated with religious extremism.
The revised regional regulation on religious affairs is the first in the country to target religious extremism, state-run China Daily reported today.
The new rules are to be implemented from January 1, next year and are intended to protect legal religious activities.
"An increasing number of problems involving religious affairs have emerged in Xinjiang," Ma Mingcheng, deputy director of the Xinjiang People's Congress and director of its legislative affairs committee said.