Shule County, Kashgar, Xinjiang
|Died||October 2, 2003
Hasan Mahsum, also known as Abu-Muhammad al-Turkestani and Ashan Sumut, was the founder and leader of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, considered an Islamic terrorist organization by China and the US and suspected of having ties with Al Qaeda. He was shot dead in a counter-terrorism operation on October 2, 2003 by the Pakistani Army.
Mahsum, a native of Shule (Kunixar) County, became involved with the East Turkestan independence movement early in his life; in his late 20s, he was already a lecturer at a training camp in Yecheng County, preaching Jihad and advocating the use of violence against Chinese authorities. He was arrested in October 1993 by the Chinese police for terrorist activities and sentenced to three years of re-education through labour. After fleeing China in 1997, Mahsum lived in Afghanistan and Pakistan; he held an Afghan passport issued by the Taliban. In early 1999, he was said to have met with Osama bin Laden, who offered him US$300,000 of financial assistance for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement in the following year; Mahsum himself denied any connection with bin Laden. The Chinese government has accused him of directing a series of violent terrorist activities including robbery and murder in Urumqi on February 4, 1999 and violent murders in the Khotan region on December 14, 1999; it is believed that these attacks were actually carried out by an operative of his named Mutalif Kasim.
Chinese, Pakistani, and US officials confirmed that Mahsum was shot dead in an early-morning raid on a suspected al-Qaeda training camp by the Pakistan Army in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, on October 2, 2003. The Pakistani army attacked an al-Qaeda hideout in South Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan on 2 October 2003, shooting and killing eight terrorists, including Mahsum. The Beijing News and International Herald Leader initially reported that the United States worked with Pakistan in a joint counter-terrorism operation, but Major General Shaukat Sultan, a spokesman for the Pakistani military, denied U.S. military involvement. Sultan said "DNA tests were conducted to determine it was him." The Chinese government assisted in identifying his body.
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- Spokesperson's remarks on the Death of Hasan Mahsum, Head of the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement
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- Uyghur Separatist Denies Links to Taliban, Al-Qaeda
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