Explosion Kills At Least 31 People In Northwest China

The explosion reportedly happened Thursday morning near an open market in Urumqi.

1. Updated — May 22, 2 a.m. ET

2. An explosion rocked an open market Thursday morning, killing at least 31 people and injuring 90 others, the Associated Press reported.

AP Photo/Cao Zhiheng

The market is located in downtown Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the northwest part of China.

Witnesses said attackers threw explosives at the crowd in the market from two SUVs, according to NBC News. One of the SUVs also exploded.

Citing witness accounts on Chinese social network Weibo, the BBC said the attack happened just before 8 a.m. when the vehicles plowed into the crowd.

WARNING - graphic image. Clearly Xinjiang "terrorist" attack serious. #China

— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon)

7. China Xinhua News reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping characterized the attackers as terrorists and promised action.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges to severely punish terrorists after deadly explosions in Xinjiang

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews)

The explosion comes three weeks after a blast and knife attack killed three people at a train station in Urumqi. The incident also left 79 people injured. In the aftermath of that explosion, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was visiting the region at the time, promised to take action against separatists.

AP Photo

Chinese police men guard the entrance to the Urumqi South Railway Station Wednesday, April 30, after an explosion shook building.

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is home to the Turkic Muslim Uyghur minority group. More recently, the region has seen an influx of Han Chinese, leading to tensions between the two groups, according to the BBC.

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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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