Chinese police have detained five suspects in connection with Monday’s deadly car crash at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, state media report.
Police have described the incident as a “violent terror attack”, the Xinhua news agency says, for first time.
All three people in the car had names from the Muslim Uighur minority in the restive western region of Xinjiang.
Two bystanders died and 38 people were injured after the vehicle crashed into a crowd and burst into flames.
The police said that what happened at Tiananmen Square was a “violent terrorist attack” which was “carefully planned and organised”, Xinhua says.
The jeep that crashed into a bridge in front of the Forbidden City was driven by a man who was with his wife and mother, police said in a statement.
All three had names from the Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region.
The three ignited petrol inside the car, they added.
Police said the vehicle they found on Monday had a container for petrol, two knives and what they describe as a flag with extremist religious slogans on it. They added that the car’s number plates were registered in Xinjiang province.
They said they also found more knives and another flag at a location in Beijing.
On Wednesday, a number of news agency reports said a police notice was being circulated among hotels in Beijing, asking information about eight suspects.
Seven have names typical of the Uighur ethnic group and the other, although seemingly from China’s majority Han ethnicity, has an address in Xinjiang, reports say.
A tourist from the Philippines and a tourist from Guangdong province were among those killed in the incident. Another 38 people were injured, including three tourists from the Philippines and one from Japan.
Police shut down the scene of the incident – at the north end of the square at an entrance to the Forbidden City – shortly after it occurred, temporarily closing a subway station and a road.
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