Three knife-wielding “violent Xinjiang terrorists” were shot dead at close range by police in China after they resisted arrest, authorities said on Monday night.

The masked suspects shouted “holy war slogans” as they charged towards officers who had attempted to enter their hideout in Shenyang, Liaoning Province on Monday afternoon, according to the Beijing News citing a police statement.

Police surrounding the “terrorists” hideout in Shenyang. Photo: Weibo

The statement said a fourth suspect, a 28-year-old Uyghur female, was hospitalised with gun wounds. Three accompanying children were also “captured,” the statement said.

Officers opened fire after the suspects, all from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, attacked them with knives and refused to stop despite police warnings, said a message posted by the Shenyang Public Security Bureau on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter.

Statement by the Shenyang Public Security Bureau.

The arrests were part of an ongoing operation stemming from a previous jihadist attack, the statement said, without offering more details. Police in Shenyang had detained 16 other suspects before they found the four hiding in a rental house in Shenhe District. Over 200 armed policemen were dispatched to the scene after the suspects started attacking officers, according to the statement.

No civilian fatalities were reported in the incident.

The Uyghur people are a Muslim minority in China who live mostly in Xinjiang. Rights groups say Uyghurs have been facing religious and cultural suppression by the Han authorities. In recent years, China has stepped up its crackdown on Islamist extremists following several violent attacks aimed at the public.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.