China is now in the crosshairs of ISIS with the terrorist group releasing a half-hour video vowing to “shed blood like rivers” in attacks against the country.
The young fighters shown in the video are believed to be Uyghur militants from China’s Xinjiang province attentively listening to preachers. The group announced that they are planning to return home to their country to carry out their mission. According to U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, the video originated from western Iraq.
Security experts say that the statements mark the terror group’s first threat against the country, the Daily Mail reports.
“Oh, you Chinese who do not understand what people say. We are the soldiers of the Caliphate, and we will come to you to clarify to you with the tongues of our weapons, to shed blood like rivers and avenging the oppressed,” an ISIS fighter said in a footage reportedly analyzed and translated by SITE.
Fighters, with armed children among them, were also shown in the background doing a variety of activities, doing martial arts and tinkering with weapons. Some are shown praying, giving speeches, and even killing suspected informants on camera.
The Uyghurs, a Muslim group of Turkish origin, has regularly clashed with the Chinese government, claiming discrimination and repression.
Beijing has also previously warned of the exiled Uyghur separatists’ possible links with international terror groups and has blamed them for attacks in the western Xinjiang region, which is the Uyghur community’s homeland.
“It is the first time that Uighur-speaking militants have claimed allegiance to IS,” National Security College of Australian National University’s Dr. Michael Clarke, an expert on Xinjiang was quoted as saying.
“The video showed China is now ‘very firmly a target of jihadist rhetoric,” he added.
Other observers, however, believe that China is simply exaggerating such threats to justify tough security measures in the region. On the same day of the video’s release, China was holding the latest military police mass rally in Xinjiang, a show of force against security threats.