Blast at Chinese kindergarten kills at least 8, injures dozens

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
BEIJING
Published 15.06.2017 22:44
Updated 16.06.2017 09:31
This screengrab taken from a broadcast by China's State broadcaster CCTV on June 15, 2017, shows the aftermath of an explosion outside a kindergarten in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou (AFP Photo)
This screengrab taken from a broadcast by China's State broadcaster CCTV on June 15, 2017, shows the aftermath of an explosion outside a kindergarten in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou (AFP Photo)

Chinese police said Friday the explosion that killed eight people outside a kindergarten was caused by a makeshift bomb and the bomber died in the blast.

The public security ministry said in a statement that the suspect was a 22-year-old man with health problems who rented a room near the kindergarten in the eastern town of Fengxian, where Thursday's blast occurred.

The explosion happened at the school's gates, police in the city of Xuzhou said in a statement.

Images circulating online showed that the force of the blast tore people's clothes off and one woman was seen clutching her crying child.

Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun ordered a "prompt" investigation into the cause and "demanded enhanced checks of possible risks at densely populated venues," Xinhua said. His deputy was dispatched to the area to conduct the probe.

At least eight people were killed and 65 injured, including eight seriously, according to Xinhua citing local officials. Two died at the site of the explosion and six while being treated.

Xinhua said children were leaving school when the blast occurred, but the Fengxian county government said class was ongoing and teachers and students were not among the casualties.

Pictures of the scene showed more than a dozen people outside a building, many lying on the concrete and some appearing to be unconscious, including a small child.

A video posted by the People's Daily showed emergency workers arriving at the scene with gurneys. Another showed people lying in a hospital.

Online media reports cited a business owner near the kindergarten as saying that around 5:00 pm (0900 GMT) he heard a "bang", and found that there had been an explosion at the kindergarten entrance only 100 metres (330 feet) away.

It is the latest tragedy to strike a kindergarten in China in recent weeks.

A school bus packed with kindergarten pupils erupted in flames inside a tunnel in eastern Shandong province on May 9, killing 11 children, a teacher and the driver.

Officials later said the fire was intentionally set by the driver, who was angry at losing overtime wages.

There have also been knife attacks at schools in recent years.

In January a man armed with a kitchen knife stabbed and wounded 11 children at a kindergarten in southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

In February last year, a knife-wielding assailant wounded 10 children in a schoolyard in Haikou, in the southern island province of Hainan, before committing suicide.

In 2014, a man stabbed three children and a teacher to death and wounded several others in a rampage at a primary school that refused to enrol his daughter.

That followed a March 2013 incident in which a man killed two relatives and then slashed 11 people, including six children, outside a school in Shanghai.

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