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Chinese police slay five in shootout

  • Story Highlights
  • Police in China kill five members of a group planning a "holy war", says state media
  • Five were among 15 who were cornered in a police raid in Xinjiang province
  • Police: Group comprised Uygurs, a Sunni Muslim ethnic minority, planning attacks
  • Authorities add that group were to target Han Chinese, largest ethnic group in China
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(CNN) -- Police in western China shot and killed five members of a group planning a "holy war" against Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China, police told China's Xinhua news agency Wednesday.

The five were among 15 who were cornered in a police raid in Xinjiang province, the agency said. The 15 were Uygurs, a Sunni Muslim ethnic minority who live in an autonomous region in Xinjiang, police told Xinhua.

Police had been searching for three men in the group after they were suspected to have stabbed a Han woman and seriously wounded her at a beauty salon in May, the agency said.

When police surrounded the men's apartment Tuesday, they found 15 men and women wielding knives and shouting "sacrifice for Allah," a police spokesman told Xinhua.

Police used tear gas, but the group tried to escape, waving knives and wounding one policeman, the spokesman said.

"The policemen were then forced to open fire, killing five on the spot and injuring two," the spokesman told the news agency, adding that the others were arrested.

A bystander told CNN that more than 100 officers had surrounded the apartment, and he reported "continuous" gunfire from inside and outside the building.

Police found more than 30 knives in the apartment, Xinhua reported.

The suspects confessed they had all received training in launching a "holy war" against Han people, whom they believe to be heretics, police told Xinhua.

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