U.S. Embassy Beijing Blast Latest: Explosion Reported in Chinese Capital

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A police officer blocks access near the site of a blast outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, on July 26. Reuters

An explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Thursday left one person injured. The blast occurred around 1 p.m. local time and was heard several blocks away from the scene, The New York Times reported.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy told CNN's Jamie Tarabay that one person detonated an explosive device at the southeast side of the embassy compound, and was reportedly the only one injured in the explosion.

BREAKING: One person detonated explosive in southeast of U.S. embassy compound in Beijing.

A spox for the US embassy told @CNN that the individual who detonated the device is the only one injured.

Chinese police are investigating. No word on the condition of the individual.

— Jamie Tarabay (@jamietarabay) July 26, 2018

Authorities said that the man injured his hand in the incident but is still alive and was taken to the hospital for treatment. The suspect, who was identified only by his last name, Jiang, is 26 years old and from Inner Mongolia, reported Sky News Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire.

According to Reuters, Beijing police are saying that the detonated explosive was nothing more than a "firework device."

Beijing police report says a man set off a suspected explosive device, causing the man’s hand to be injured but suspect is still alive. Police on scene quickly. Suspect’s surname given as Jiang, 26 yrs old, from Inner Mongolia sent to hospital for medical treatment.

— Tom Cheshire (@chesh) July 26, 2018

The Chinese state-run Global Times reported earlier in the day at the same location people witnessed authorities taking away a woman who was "spraying gasoline on herself" in a "suspected self-immolation" attempt outside the embassy complex at around 11 a.m. Beijing time.

The state-owned news site said it was not known whether the incident was related to the explosion, which occurred a short while later.

Witnesses have posted images of thick smoke engulfing the building in the Chaoyang District to Twitter.

just now. Large explosion just minutes ago at either the US or Indian embassy here in Beijing.https://t.co/1QAgZxBE7X

— Xah Lee (@xah_lee) July 26, 2018

Shri Acquino Vimal, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy in Beijing, said there was a "low, short-intensity blast" at approximately 1 p.m. The Indian Embassy is located 492 feet from the U.S. Embassy.

Mentions and postings about the explosion on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, were quickly censored and removed.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Greg Shuang said that authorities handled the isolated incident in a timely and appropriate matter.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang described the isolated incident as a matter of public security that the police dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. pic.twitter.com/7pO7Cll7Cx

— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) July 26, 2018

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing was opened on August 8, 2008. It is currently the third largest American diplomatic mission in the world.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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A police officer blocks access near the site of a blast outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, on July 26. Reuters