Police identify suspect in China kindergarten blast that killed eight


dpa

Police have identified the suspect in an explosion that killed eight people and injured dozens of others near a kindergarten in eastern China, the local government said Friday.

Police are investigating the explosion as a criminal act, officials from Xuzhou city government, local police and party officials told a press conference early Friday.

The blast happened at 4:48 p.m. (0748 GMT) on Thursday, as relatives were waiting to pick up pupils from Chuangxin Kindergarten in Fengxian County at the end of the school day.

Two people were found dead near the kindergarten entrance, and six others died later in hospital, the local government said.

Eight people were in a critical condition and receiving treatment at a Xuzhou hospital. Sixty-five others were being treated at two county hospitals, officials said.

The kindergarten was still in session when the explosion happened, so no pupils or teachers were among those injured, the local government said.

Photos and videos posted on social media, however, showed adults and children lying on the ground, some of them bleeding. A video that was apparently shot at a hospital showed adults and children receiving emergency treatment.

Local newspaper Xiandaikuaibao reported that the blast appeared to have been caused by a cooking gas container. Witnesses said on social media that the explosion might have occurred at a nearby food stall.

Police did not specify what caused the explosion.

A witness told Global Times that the blast hurled people several metres into the air.

The public security ministry sent a team to investigate the explosion, state media reported.

Attacks on kindergartens in China have happened before, usually by people who are mentally ill or who seek retaliation against employers or society.

Last month, a driver set fire to a school bus carrying children to kindergarten in the eastern Shandong province, killing 11 pupils and a teacher.