Beijing: The imam of China`s largest mosque was killed in the troubled Xinjiang region and police on Thursday shot dead two suspects and captured another for the killing.
Jume Tahir, 74, was stabbed after he led early morning prayers at the Id Kah mosque in the county-level city of Kashgar yesterday.
Police have shot dead two suspects and captured a third for assassinating Tahir, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
According to police, the three suspects, influenced by religious extremism, planned to "do something big" to increase their influence. The killings and arrest happened as the suspects resisted arrest with knives and axes yesterday.
Tahir was appointed imam of the 600-year-old mosque by China`s ruling Communist Party.
The attack came after a gang armed with knives attacked a police station and government offices on Monday in Elixku Township in Shache County, Kashgar Prefecture. Some of the attackers then moved on to the nearby Huangdi Township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed.
Dozens of Uygur and Han civilians were killed or injured in the attack, local police said.
Media reports said 32 people including 22 "attackers" were killed by police and 41 others arrested.
Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslims with ethnic fraternity in Turkey, bordering Syria.
Xinjiang which is restive over native Muslim Uygurs resentment over settlements of Hans is witnessing a number terrorist attacks in recent past.
Beijing accuses al-Qaeda backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which had bases in Pakistan`s tribal areas, for the unrest in the region.
Chinese security forces launched an-year-long crackdown against the militants after a spate of bomb attacks in Urumqi, provincial capital of Xinjiang which border Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.