Explosion Reported Outside the US Embassy in Beijing

July 26, 2018 Updated: July 26, 2018    

BEIJING—A bomb exploded outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Thursday, wounding the lone assailant, the embassy said in a statement, but police described the weapon merely as a “firework device.”

The statement read: “There was an explosion at approximately 1pm today on the street outside the South East corner of the Embassy compound. According to the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer, there was one individual who detonated a bomb. Other than the bomber, no other people were injured and there was no damage to embassy property. The local police responded.”

The explosion happened in a public space off the southeast corner of the embassy compound, the embassy said. Beijing police said the suspect, a 26-year-old man from the city of Tongliao in China’s Inner Mongolia region, had injured his hand. Local authorities have identified the man only be his surname Jiang but are yet to provide a motive.

Witnesses told Reuters that they heard an explosion near the embassy and felt tremors.

A police SUV appeared to have been damaged, with its back windshield missing, and was cordoned off by police before being removed, a Reuters witness said.

Crowds were still queueing outside the embassy after the explosion and traffic was moving as normal in an area of northeastern Beijing that is home to numerous embassies including those of France, India, and Israel.

Postings on social media showed pictures of smoke close to where people line up outside the compound for visa appointments. Some video clips and images were later removed.

Staff members at the Indian and South Korean embassies said they were unaware of any unusual incident and were working as normal.

A security personnel removes objects near the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, on July 26, 2018. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)

People were still seen standing in queues for visa nearby the site, as police directed traffic.

A Reuters witness saw Chinese police examining a vehicle outside the embassy and social media showed pictures of smoke close to where people line up outside the compound for visa appointments.

Staff at the Indian and South Korean embassies near the U.S. compound said they were unaware of any unusual incident and were working as normal.

According to Radio Free Asia, a different account was reported. Eyewitness accounts say that someone had a homemade explosive device and intended to throw the bomb over the embassy’s fence. The bomb exploded near the person, injuring a number of people and damaging a police car, the report added.

An earlier report in the Global Times, a newspaper run by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said that police had removed a woman who had sprayed herself with gasoline in a suspected self-immolation attempt. It is not clear whether the two incidents are related.

By Se Young Lee and Tom Daly

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