Explosion outside of US embassy in Beijing is 'isolated public security incident'

By Zhang Dan, Zhang Xin and Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/26 16:13:39

Bloodstains are seen about 100 meters from the south gate of the US Embassy in Beijing after an explosion on Thursday. Photo: Zhang Dan/GT

US visa applicants queue up in front of the south gate of the US Embassy in Beijing after order is restored following an explosion on Thursday. Photo: Zhang Dan/GT

Beijing police have detained a 26-year-old man suspected of exploding a bomb outside the US Embassy on Thursday.

There were no injuries to anyone other than the suspect, police noted in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday afternoon.

The suspect from the city of Tongliao in Inner Mongolia had allegedly ignited explosives at the junction of Tianze Road and Anjialou Road near the Embassy, the statement said.

The blast injured his hands, but the injuries were not life-threatening, it said. Police did not fully name the suspect.

Earlier at about 11 am, police took away a woman who sprayed gasoline on herself in a suspected self-immolation attempt outside the embassy, witnesses told the Global Times.

Two policemen rushed over with fire extinguishers, Zhang Lina, 30, a travel consultant, told the Global Times.

"I was waiting at the exit of the US Embassy visa office for my clients to finish their visa interviews, when a woman behind me began to spray gasoline on herself," Zhang said.

The woman was dressed shabbily and held a sign with the Chinese characters for "grievance" and other words underneath, Zhang said.

The woman, possibly in her 40s, was taken away by two plainclothes policemen, Zhang said. The incident was over in minutes, she said.

When the Global Times reporter arrived at the Embassy about 2 pm, the distinct smell of gasoline lingered in the air.

It was unclear if the two incidents were related.

The US Embassy said in a statement that there was an explosion at about 1 pm on the street outside the southeast corner of the embassy compound.

"There was one individual who detonated a bomb," the statement said. "Other than the bomber, there were no injuries."

Nearby residents heard a massive explosion, then saw heavy smoke.

"The bomber was in front of a vehicle with detonators in both hands," said witness Huang Qianming, who claimed to be 30 meters from the blast.

The bomber parked about 100 meters south of the Embassy main gate, Huang said.

Police took away the suspect and blocked access to the scene, witnesses told the Global Times.

The explosion was an isolated public security case, and Chinese police have dealt with it in a proper and timely fashion, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference later on Thursday.

The US Embassy quickly resumed service Thursday afternoon, with visa applicants lining up outside.

Zhang Dan contributed to the story


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