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Smoke fills the street as bomb explodes near US Embassy in Beijing

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A large explosion has taken place “near the Embassy in Beijing with smoke filling the surrounding streets.” Photos and videos circulating in large crowds moving towards the smoke to see what happened. Uniformed security personnel are also seen to have cordoned off the area around the Embassy. The Embassy occupies a large plot of land in the northeastern part of the Chinese capital.

“There was an explosion at approximately 1pm today in the public off the East corner of the Embassy compound,” an embassy spokesperson said. The spokesperson added: “According to the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer, there was one individual detonated a bomb. Other than the bomber, there were no injuries.”

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the explosion was an “isolated public order incident” and that Beijing had handled the matter in a “timely and proper manner.”

Beijing however said that was caused by a “firework device”. A 26-year-old man, suspected to be behind the blast, injured his hand in the explosion, Beijing added. There were no reports of any causalities or of any major damage.

Reuters reported that a police SUV appears to have been damaged with its windshield from the incident and that the vehicle was cordoned off by police before being removed.

The blast happened in an area that is usually crowded with visa applicants. Students, families and agents throng the area waiting for visa appointments.

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The Global Times reported on Wednesday morning of an attempt at self-immolation taking place outside of the embassy. It’s not clear if these two incidents are related.

Tension between and the U.S. has been high since was declared between both countries.

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