Explosion outside near US Embassy in Beijing

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Beijing, July 26 (IANS) An explosive was detonated on a street outside the US Embassy in Beijing on Thursday, close to the main compound, rattling the diplomatically sensitive area in the capital.

The blast happened around 1 p.m. outside the Embassy in Beijing’s Chaoyang district and was heard blocks away. The police said a 26-year-old man set off a device made from fireworks that injured his hand, the New York Times reported.

The bomber surnamed Jiang Moumou was detained and sent to a hospital. His injuries were not life threatening and no one else was hurt, police said, adding he is from Inner Mongolia.

“There was one individual who detonated a bomb. Other than the bomber, there were no injuries and there was no damage to Embassy property. The local police responded,” the US Embassy spokesperson said in a statement.

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State media outlet Global Times tweeted that local residents had heard a “thunder-like bang”. Video and images posted on social media showed smoke rising from the vicinity of the Embassy in the heart of the Chinese capital with crowds gathering.

The street in front of the Embassy, Tianze Road, which is also near the embassies of India and Israel, was closed for about an hour after the blast. Soon after the street reopened, a new line began to form outside the Embassy compound.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang called the explosion an “isolated security incident”.

“Chinese police have dealt with it in a timely and proper manner,” he said.

A visa agent, who said he was about 30 feet away when the blast occurred, said the source appeared to be an explosive device, set off by a man who had been trying to call attention to a human rights issue.

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Earlier in the day, the police arrested a woman spraying petrol on herself in a suspected attempt at self-immolation. It was not clear whether the two incidents were related.

Attacks on sites in the Chinese capital are rare. The most serious incident in recent years saw a car ploughing into a crowd at Tiananmen Square in 2013, killing five people including the attackers.

–IANS

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