Police in China's restive Central Asia border area fatally shot seven members of a Muslim ethnic group in what officials say was an attempt to end a kidnapping.
Officials and state media accounts said Thursday that police opened fire after encountering resistance in trying to free two men who had been kidnapped by what officials called "a violent terrorist group."
Four others were injured and another four arrested in Wednesday night's raid outside the city of Hotan. The two hostages were freed.
The area has been plagued by tensions between China's Han Chinese majority and ethnic Uighurs, the indigenous, mainly Muslim group. Some Uighurs have embraced militant separatism, though the Chinese government has provided scant evidence of organized terrorism.