Beijing: An explosion at a children’s nursery in eastern China has left at least seven people dead and 66 others injured.
Police said the explosion occurred at the entrance to the Chuangxin Kindergarten in the city of Xuzhou Fengxian county in Jiangsu province on Thursday.
Chinese state media cited the number of casualties, but did not say if any children were among the dead.
Two people died on the spot and five more later. Nine more were in serious condition.
It is still unclear what set off the explosion in the afternoon when many parents had gathered near the entrance of the kindergarten to pick up their children.
One witness, a local businessman, reported that around 5:00 pm (0900 GMT) he heard a “bang”. Another witness said a “bottle of cooking gas” had blown up causing the blast.
Pictures circulating on Chinese social media showed about a dozen women and children lying on the ground in what appeared to be the immediate aftermath of the blast.
One video showed an injured woman with scorched clothing staggering unsteadily, while others sat on a floor holding crying children in their arms.
An official at the police station in Fengxian county said the cause of the blast was under investigation. Media sources speculated that the explosion could have been an attack.
Nurseries in China have been targeted in the past in apparent revenge attacks carried out by people bearing grudges against other people.