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A local woman told CNN that the stabbings were ethnically motivated and that government text messages to citizens have warned that the syringes contained an unknown disease.
"People are protesting here right now. It's all Han people," he said, declining to give his name because of safety reasons. "Since August 3, the Uyghurs have been stabbing the Hans with needles with an unknown virus. People are all very scared."
Ethnic-fueled violence between the Han Chinese and Uyghurs has plagued Urumqi since July, when soldiers and police stormed the streets to quell riots. Unconfirmed reports of deaths in those riots range from 200 to many more.