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China Arrests Six for Attempted Plane Hijacking in Xinjiang

Chinese police arrested six suspects for trying to hijack an airplane in the northwestern region of Xinjiang today, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing local authorities.

The suspects were overpowered by the crew and passengers upon attempting to hijack the Tianjin Airlines plane 10 minutes after the flight took off at 12:25 p.m. from the Hotan Airport en route to the regional capital of Urumqi, Xinhua said. At least 10 of the 100 people on board were injured and the flight returned to land safely in Hotan, it said.

The incident may add to unrest in a region beset by tension between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and ethnic Han Chinese, whom the government has encouraged to migrate to Xinjiang. Riots in the territory left at least 12 people dead in February, according to the official Xinhua.

Xinjiang was the scene of clashes in 2009 between Uighurs and Han Chinese that left almost 200 people dead in Urumqi. Separate disturbances in July and August killed 22 people, Xinhua reported at the time.

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