Suspect dead in China bombing

NO ACCIDENT::While initial reports made mention of a gas cylinder, authorities yesterday confirmed the source of the explosion to be an intentionally planted bomb

AFP, FENGXIAN, China

Sat, Jun 17, 2017 - Page 5

A blast that killed eight people and injured dozens outside a kindergarten in eastern China was caused by a makeshift bomb and the assailant died in the explosion, authorities said yesterday.

The suspect was a 22-year-old man with health problems who rented a room near the kindergarten in Fengxian, where Thursday’s blast occurred, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

Police found material to make a homemade explosive device at the apartment and the words “die,” “death” and “destroy” written on the wall, it said.

The man, surnamed Xu, suffered from dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, a disorder that can cause heart and blood pressure problems, it said, adding that he had dropped out of school, but was employed.

The explosion in Jiangsu Province left victims bleeding and weeping, with images posted on Chinese state media showing some had their clothes torn off by the force of the explosion.

A survivor told broadcaster CCTV from her hospital bed that the school gate had just opened for kids to leave, though none had come out yet when the fireball erupted.

The woman, who was holding a baby during the interview as she sat on her bed, said she blacked out and only woke up while being treated.

Class had not yet been dismissed and no teachers or students were among the casualties, the Fengxian County Government said.

At least eight people were killed and 65 injured, including eight seriously, authorities said.

Two died at the site of the explosion and six while being treated.

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

Videos posted by the Chinese-language People’s Daily showed emergency workers arriving at the scene with gurney and people in hospital.

Online media reports cited a business owner near the kindergarten as saying that he heard a “bang” around 5pm and found that there had been an explosion at the kindergarten entrance only 100 meters away.

Hundreds of students attend the school and the victims were thought to be people waiting to pick up the children, local people said.

Investigators concluded that the blast was caused by an explosive, ruling out previous news reports of an accidental gas cylinder explosion.

Police officers wearing blue plastic around their shoes yesterday scoured the scene of the explosion in front of the kindergarten on the outskirts of Xuzhou.

The incident is the latest in a string of tragedies to strike school children in China in recent months.

A school bus packed with kindergarten pupils on May 9 erupted in flames inside a tunnel in eastern Shandong Province, 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, most recently in January, when a man armed with a kitchen knife wounded 11 children at a kindergarten in southern China.