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Terrorists threaten Beijing Olympics

Shanghai, Jul 26: A separatists group has warned of fresh attacks in China during the Beijing Olympics and taken credit for a May bus bombing in Shanghai. A group monitoring terror threats on the internet said that Commander Seyfullah of the Turkestan Islamic Party claimed credit for several attacks in China less than a fortnight out from the start of the Olympics.

"Through this blessed jihad in Yunnan this time, the Turkestan Islamic Party warns China one more time," Seyfullah says in a video statement dated July 23, according to a transcript from the Washington-based Intel Center.

"Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed," he continues.

The warnings come just a day after Chinese police claimed they cracked a terrorist cell planning to attack Shanghai Stadium, the venue where the Australian men's soccer team will open its Olympic campaign on August 7.

Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred said it took any terrorist threat "very seriously" but remained confident in the Chinese government's security plans for the Games.

"The safety of the athletes is paramount to us and there is a security force of 110,000 in China so we are not concerned about any terrorist threat in this country," he told AAP from Beijing today.

"We think with the size of the force they have and the knowledge they have, we think they will counter any terrorist problem that might arise.

"There is a very strong presence in the streets in Beijing with the army and the police. There are people that are stationed throughout the Olympic precinct 24 hours a day and I really can't see how any terrorist is going to crack the Chinese defences."

Australia is sending a team of more than 430 athletes to the China for the Olympics and they will be supported by a staff of 319 officials, including a medical team of 75.

Commander Seyfullah claimed credit for the May 5 Shanghai bus bombing which killed three; another Shanghai attack; an attack on police in Wenzhou on July 17 using an explosives laden tractor; a bombing of a Guangzhou plastic factory on July 17; and bombings of three buses in Yunnan province on July 21.

According to global intelligence analysts Stratfor, the Turkestan Islamic Party is another name used by the Islamic Party of East Turkestan (ETIM), an ethnic Uighur and Muslim separatist group seeking to create an independent state out of China's westernmost, heavily Muslim Xinjiang province.

The United States, China and other countries have designated ETIM a terrorist group.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Saturday, July 26, 2008, 15:35 [IST]
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