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China says militant group caused crash

BEIJING — China’s top security official blamed a little-known militant group for this week’s suicide car crash that killed five people in the heart of the capital, renewing Beijing’s disputed claim that the country faces a significant, organized terrorist threat.

Meng Jianzhu offered no details of the allegations against the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, and it isn’t clear whether the group has the ability to orchestrate terror strikes. Beijing says the movement is dedicated to the violent overthrow of Chinese rule in the northwestern region of Xinjiang that is home to the country’s Turkic Muslim Uighur minority.

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Police said they found flags imprinted with religious slogans among items in the SUV used in the attack and at the temporary lodgings of five arrested suspects.

China’s government has said previous attacks in Xinjiang were inspired by jihadist propaganda and has linked several of them directly to the group.

‘‘Behind the instigation is the terrorist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement entrenched in central and west Asian regions,’’ Meng, chief of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the ruling Communist Party, said in an interview.

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