Chinese authorities on Monday said eight people had been shot dead during what officials described as a “terrorist attack” on a police station in China’s far western Muslim-majority Xinjiang region.

Authorities said nine men wielding knives had attacked a police station in Shache, a county in Xinjiang’s southwestern Kashgar prefecture, early on Monday morning. They “threw explosives and set police cars on fire”, state media reported. Eight of the attackers were shot dead when police opened fire, while one man was caught, the Kashgar Prefecture Party Committee said.

The attack follows the death of 16 people in Shufu — another county in Kashgar — on December 15. China has blamed recent attacks in Kashgar, which neighbours Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), on terrorist groups, while rights groups have pointed to security and religious restrictions as fuelling unrest. — Ananth Krishnan