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Fifteen die in attack in west China


An attack in China's troubled western Xinjiang region has left 15 people dead and 14 injured in the latest in a wave of ethnic violence that has claimed dozens of lives over the past year.

The Xinhua News Agency reported that the incident took place at a "food street" Friday in Shache county, the same region where state media said a series of attacks in July left 96 people dead, including 59 assailants.

The assailants in the attack wielded explosives and knives and had at least one vehicle, according to the Tianshan news portal.

Xinhua reported that 11 of the 15 people killed were assailants.

Police in Shache county declined to provide information about the incident.

Xinjiang has seen repeated violence over the past year as members of the Muslim Uighur (WEE-gur) minority group have bristled under what they say is repressive Chinese government rule.

The central government regularly blocks attempts to independently confirm state media reports of ethnic violence in Xinjiang.

Uighur groups say police have used indiscriminate deadly force against people protesting the government's policies in the region.

The US-based Uyghur American Association disputed government accounts of the July attacks that described mobs rampaging through towns with knives and axes targeting majority Han Chinese.

The association said police instead opened fire on people protesting against a security crackdown on Muslims during Ramadan, killing more than 20.

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Last month, a Xinjiang court sentenced 12 people to death for the July attacks and handed down death sentences with two-year reprieves to another 15 people.

Chinese authorities say their security crackdown in Xinjiang has busted 115 terrorist gangs before they could unleash violence, but tallies of death tolls in the ethnically tense region suggest the violence has continued, and may even have intensified.

Chinese state media outlets have reported at least 175 deaths in the past six months in eight violent incidents in Xinjiang.

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