Police Target Other Cells Ahead Of Olympic Games
Details are sketchy at this point -- and it's likely not much
more will be revealed -- but a Chinese official announced this
weekend a possible terrorist attack was thwarted Friday onboard a
China Southern Airlines flight.
Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, told
reporters the aircraft inbound from Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang
region in far western China, to Beijing made an emergency landing
in Lanzhou because "some people were attempting to create an air
disaster," reports Xinhua.
According to other news reports, the flight involved was CZ6901,
and involved a flammable liquid found in a lavatory.
The plane's crew stopped the alleged attackers -- again, few
details were given -- and all passengers were safe, Nur said.
Authorities are now investigating "who the attackers are, where
they are from and what's their background.
"But we can be sure that this was a case intending to create an
air crash," he added.
The news came as a surprise, however, to China Southern board
secretary Su Liang, who told Agence-France Presse "I haven't heard
about this incident."
With the 2008 Summer Olympics coming to Beijing in August,
Chinese officials have stepped up exponentially efforts to thwart
any suspected attacks. The Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region is home
to a number of suspected terrorist cells.
In late January, two suspected militants were killed, and
another 15 injured, in a government raid against cells In Urumqi.
On Sunday, the region's Communist party chief, Wang Lequan, linked
the raid to the upcoming international games.
"Obviously, the gang had planned an attack targeting the
Olympics," he said.