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Chinese Worried by New Jihadi Modus Operandi

First published in the International Terrorism Monitor – Paper No. 426
On July 2,2008, two Israelis were killed and 30 others injured when a tractor driven by an Arab resident of east Jerusalem trampled over pedestrians and vehicles and flipped over two buses in central Jerusalem. A state of emergency was declared in the city following the attack. Jerusalem Police Chief Aharon Franco told the media that a tractor driven by a terrorist began hitting vehicles and flipped over two buses.” There was a similar attack a week later.

2. On August 4,2008, 16 police border guards of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security were killed at Kashgar in the Xinjiang province, when they were allegedly attacked by two Uighurs belonging to the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan (IMET). According to the initial version of the local authorities, the Uighurs came to a border post in a stolen heavy truck, jumped out and threw hand-grenades at a party of police guards doing their morning exercise. Subsequently, they said they actually threw home-made explosives at the policemen who were jogging.

3. According to a foreign blogger based in Xinjiang, there were unconfirmed reports that the police guards actually died when the two Uighurs drove their heavy truck into them. They had no explosives or weapons. If true, this seems to have been a copy-cat emulation of the modus operandi (MO) adopted by Palestinian terrorists against the Isrealis in East Jerusalem.

4. The Chinese have not admitted that the police guards were killed when the truck drove into them. They continue to maintain that the police guards were killed by explosives. They seem to be worried that this MO might be copied by other terrorist groups in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong during the Olympics.

The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies.