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Uighur Blamed in Fatal Xinjiang Bomb Blast

Authorities in China's western Xinjiang province say an ethnic Uighur was to blame for a bomb explosion Thursday that killed seven people and injured 14.

Xinjiang government spokeswoman Hou Hanmin told reporters the man drove a three-wheeled vehicle into a crowded intersection near the city of Aksu before detonating the blast. Some of the victims were Uighurs, she said.

Hou said the suspect was injured in the explosion and was captured immediately at the scene. She did not speculate about his motive.

However, Xinjiang has been the scene of repeated incidents of violence involving its Muslim Uighurs, who make up almost half its population.

The provincial capital, Urumqi, was disrupted in June 2009 by violent clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese, the second largest ethnic group in Xinjiang.

Nearly 200 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the rioting, the worst ethnic violence in China for decades. Authorities arrested hundreds of people, and about two dozen of them were sentenced to death.

Uighurs are an ethnic Turkic Muslim group linguistically and culturally distinct from Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in China.

Many Uighurs resent what they say is Beijing's heavy-handed control over Xinjiang. Beijing blames the violence on Uighur separatists.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.