Suicide attack in China kills 31

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Attackers crashed a pair of vehicles and hurled explosives in a suicide attack on a busy street market in the capital of China’s volatile north-western region of Xinjiang, leaving dozens dead and injured.

The official Xinhua News Agency said 31 people were killed and more than 90 injured in the early-morning attack on the open-air market in the city of Urumqi.

The death toll makes the latest attack the bloodiest in a series of violent incidents blamed on radical separatist Muslims.

Xinhua said the assailants drove through crowds of shoppers in off-road vehicles and threw explosives out the window before crashing head-on.

It said one of the vehicles then exploded and quoted an eyewitness as saying there had been up to a dozen blasts in all.

Xinjiang’s regional government said the attack happened at 7.50am local time.

“I heard four or five explosions. I was very scared. I saw three or four people lying on the ground,” said Fang Shaoying, the owner of a small supermarket near the scene of the blast.

Pictures on a Chinese website showed at least three people lying in a street with a large fire in the distance giving off huge plumes of smoke. Others were sitting in the road in shock, with vegetables and furniture strewn around them.

Police in helmets and body armour were seen manning roadblocks as police cars, ambulances and fire engines arrived.

Urumqi was the scene of a railway station bomb attack late last month that killed three people, including two attackers, and injured 79. Security in the city has been significantly tightened since the attack, which took place as Chinese leader Xi Jinping was concluding a visit to the region.