China on Friday said it has crushed a major terrorist network in the restive region of Xinjiang, killing 18 militants and arresting 17 others from the banned East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which has close links with terrorist forces, including the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
"We have crushed the ETIM terrorist training camp in Xinjiang. The ETIM is a terrorist organisation banned by the United Nations," a senior official from Xinjiang government said.
"There is a lot of evidence that the terrorist forces of ETIM are connected with international terrorist forces to plan and conduct some terrorist activities," a senior police official from the northwest Chinese region told reporters here.
The January five action against ETIM militants training camp in the Pamir Plateau is China's largest counter-terrorism campaign which killed 18 terrorists and led to the arrest of 17 others. Police also seized 22 hand grenades and over 1,500 incomplete weapons.
One Chinese policeman was killed and another wounded in the gun battle, the official said.
The training camp was run by the ETIM with assistance from Taliban and al-Qaeda. It is believed that more than 1,000 ETIM members have been trained by al-Qaeda.
ETIM was listed by the United Nations as a terrorist organisation on September 11, 2002, and was included in a list of "East Turkistan" terrorist organisations issued by the MPS in 2003.