|Chinese paramilitary police walk into the US embassy compound in Beijing on July 26, 2018 following a blast near the embassy premises. — AFP/VNA PHOTO|Viet Nam News
BEIJING — A 26-year-old Chinese man set off a small explosive outside the US embassy in Beijing on Thursday, sending smoke into the air and injuring his hand before security officials rushed to the scene and took him into custody, police said.
Chinese police said no one else was injured in the incident, which took place near the area where visa applicants typically line up to enter the embassy for interviews.
The explosion was set off by a man from China’s Inner Mongolia region surnamed Jiang, police said, adding that his injuries were not life-threatening. Police did not indicate a possible motive.
Video clips that circulated on social media shortly after the explosion showed smoke in the air outside the embassy compound, and AFP journalists arriving at the scene found heavy Chinese security.
"We heard a rather strong explosion around 1pm so we went out on the street to have a look, but very soon the police had cordoned off the area," said a witness who declined to be identified.
AFP journalists said the visa office adjacent to where the blast took place appeared to have resumed operation not long after the incident.
"I heard a loud ’bang’, and then we all craned our heads to see what it was," said a man surnamed Liu, who was waiting outside the embassy at the time.
"It seemed (police) reacted pretty quickly, like they were prepared."
The area where the incident took place is on the outskirts of Beijing and home to several embassies, including those of India and Israel. — AFP