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Asia-Pacific
Xinjiang fighter 'killed by drone'
Leader of Chinese separatist movement reported killed by US missile strike in Pakistan.
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2010 09:19 GMT

The leader of a Chinese separatist movement, believed to have links with al-Qaeda, has been killed in a US missile strike, Pakistani and Taliban officials have said.

Abdul Haq al-Turkistani was apparently killed in an American drone attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan province, close to the border with Afghanistan.

He was leader of the Turkistani Islamic Party, which has been designated as a terrorist group by the US government.

Al-Turkistani had accused Chinese authorities of committing "barbaric massacres" of Muslims in China's western Xinjiang region, and has called for attacks on Chinese people.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it is aware of al-Turkistani's reported death, but cannot confirm it.

Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan, reporting from Beijing said that if Al-Turkistani's death is confirmed, it would be welcomed by Chinese authorities.

In August 2009, al-Turkistani appeared in a video on a website threatening to attack Chinese interests around the world to avenge the deaths of Muslim Uighurs in clashes with the ethnic Han Chinese in Xinjiang earlier that year.

The fighting left at least 200 people dead and more than 1,600 wounded, most of them Uighurs.

Hundreds of fighters in conflict with governments in many central Asian nations  have taken refuge in Pakistan's tribal region, where al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters are said to protect them.

The US has in recent months intensified drone strikes in Pakistan's seven tribal districts, killing dozens of al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, along with civilian casualties.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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