Man detonates bomb outside US Embassy in Beijing

Beijing: A man detonated a bomb on a street outside the US Embassy in Beijing on Thursday, rattling the diplomatically sensitive area in the capital.

The police identified the man as 26-year-old Jiang Moumou, who set off a device made from fireworks, injuring his hand. He hails from China’s Inner Mongolia region.

“There was an explosion at approximately 1 p.m. on the street outside the South East corner of the Embassy compound,” the US mission said in a statement.

“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,” it added.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The incident came at a time when the US and China are locked in a trade war.

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.

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