The China Post with dpa
Seven people died and 59 others were injured in an explosion near a kindergarten in Eastern China on Thursday, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The blast occurred in Jiangsu province’s Fengxian county. Two people were found dead at the scene, and five others died later at hospital. Four people are considered seriously injured, CCTV said.
How many of the dead or injured were children is currently unclear.
It is understood that the blast occurred around 4:50 p.m. as parents were arriving to pick up their children after school.
Disturbing photos posted to social media showed bodies and debris strewn outside the kindergarten.
The South China Morning Post quoted a local food vendor who saw the blast as saying that “many people could be dead.”
“About 5 p.m., we heard a blast and thought it might have been a gas explosion at a nearby food vendor,” he added.
It is unknown whether the explosion was intentional. An attack would not be unprecedented. Kindergartens in China have been an increasingly frequent target in recent years, often by people with grudges.
Many of these attacks involve knives. Just in January, a man stabbed 11 students to death at a kindergarten in Guangxi province.
Experts say that China’s poor mental health system and continuing taboos about receiving treatment for such conditions contribute to such incidents.