Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises from a deadly car crash on Oct. 28, 2013.
Credit: STR

Chinese authorities detained five people in connection with Monday's deadly car crash in Tiananmen Square, which Chinese media called a "violent terrorist attack."

Five people were killed when a vehicle plowed through Beijing's crowded Tiananmen Square Monday.

The "police have identified Monday's deadly Tiananmen car crash as a violent terrorist attack and five suspects have been detained," Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Broadcaster CCTV said, "The arrests were made 10 hours after the incident, which has now been identified as a terrorist attack."

Authorities suggested an ethnic Uighur from China's restive Xinjiang region was responsible for the attack, which killed three people inside the car and two outside it.

Police said Usmen Hasan — a name that indicates Uighur ethnicity — drove the car with his wife and mother inside, and it contained gasoline filled devices, a flag with "religious extremist content" on it, and knives, according to Reuters.

Xinhua published a Beijing police statement saying the crash was "rigorously planned, organized, premeditated, violent terrorist attack."

Xinjiang is a western region controlled by China and home to a minority group known as Uighurs, some of whom criticize Beijing for attempting to control their way of life. In recent years there have been outbreaks of deadly violence between Uighurs and Chinese officials.

The BBC reported that authorities may still be searching for additional suspects, citing a police notice that sought information on eight people.

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