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Fri, Mar 28, 2008

Chinese Officials Say Woman Confessed To Attempted Terror Attack

19-Year-Old Part Of Separatist Movement

Chinese officials say they've obtained a confession from a woman who allegedly attempted to set off an explosion in the lavatory of a China Southern Airlines flight on March 7.

Reuters cites China's Public Security ministry, as quoted in the state-run Xinhua news agency, as saying the 19-year-old woman worked with internationally-backed separatists seeking independence for Xinjiang, a largely Muslim region in the country's northwest.

The government identified the woman as Guzalinur Turdi, an ethnic Uighur, and say she smuggled a "hidden explosive device" past airport security and onto the plane, but aroused the suspicion of crew and other passengers when she attempted to ignite it. The device was described as a flammable liquid hidden in a canned drink.

Xinjiang is home to 8 million Muslim Uighurs, a group blamed by the Chinese government of plotting attacks on the Beijing Olympics.

The Xinhua news agency quoted the region's Communist Party chief Wang Lequan as saying that another man on board the flight was detained with Turdi, and a third suspect, detained a week later, confessed to masterminding the sabotage attempt.

The case has brought one very "Western" consequence to airline travel in the world's most populous country. You'll now have to remove your shoes when you pass through airport security in China.

FMI: www.csair.com/en, http://en.beijing2008.cn

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