SHENYANG, China, July 14 (UPI) -- Chinese police on Monday shot dead three knife-wielding men they characterized as "terrorists" from a mostly Muslim province in the country's west, according to reports.
Authorities say the men came from the Xinjiang province, home to a population of more than 10 million Muslim Uighurs.
The men brandished knives and shouted jihadist slogans as officers entered their apartment in the city of Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, nearly 2,000 miles east of the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, according to authorities.
After an initial retreat, officers called for reinforcements and cordoned the building before making reentry and shooting four people who confronted them with knives and clubs.
Police say a 28-year-old woman assailant was wounded in the encounter. She and three children were taken into custody. Another woman bystander was injured by police gunfire, The New York Times reports.
Police reportedly conducted the raid while investigating a group known as Hijrah Jihad and described the four attackers as "Xinjiang terrorists," according to a statement that was posted on a provincial government social media account and later removed. Authorities said they arrested 16 "terrorism suspects" in a prior raid in the city.
Uighur rights groups have questioned the official police account and have in the past said the Turkic-speaking Muslim minority group, which is established mainly in Xinjiang province, faces cultural and religious discrimination.
Police attribute frequent reports of violence in Xinjiang province to Islamic extremism. Such incidents outside the province are rare but not unheard of. In March 2014 police said extremists from Xinjiang were behind a stabbing spree in the city of Kunming that killed 29 people.
Chinese state media reported in May that authorities dismantled 181 terror groups in Xinjiang province over the course of a one year period.