Beginning at about 3:50 p.m. local time, the first of several explosions erupted in China’s city of Liuzhou in Guangxi province. It is reported that there were between 13 and 17 explosions that rocked up to 17 different locations. At least seven people were killed, more than 50 people were injured and two are still missing. Chinese officials have ruled out the possibility of a terror attack.
The places hit by the explosions include a prison, shopping mall, local government building, transport station, hospital, supermarket, vegetable market, staff dormitory of animal husbandry and a disease control center.
The blasts all resulted from parcel bombs, and Liucheng county official Cai Tianlai stated that following the explosions, approximately 60 suspicious courier parcels were placed under security, pending processing by the bomb squad. Authorities also issued a public safety alert warning citizens not to open packages.
One witness, Li Acheng, reported that, “I was sitting inside [my] shop and a sudden loud bang was heard. Some windows in my shop broke. I walked outside to see what happened and almost got hit by a window falling from the third floor. I saw a half of a building nearly collapse.”
Li further stated that, “We were all very shocked and thought it might be an act of terrorism. All shops were closed and the town is under curfew with police guard each street. It was very scary with so many attacks in just over an hour.”
Pictures posted on social media and news outlets show upturned cars and a large building that had partially collapsed.
In recent years, a number of attacks have been carried out at China’s markets and train stations by those who wish to air their grievances. But, until now, the attacks were limited to knife and small bombings. The parcel bomb explosions represent a larger, coordinated attack.
The blasts occurred on the eve of China’s national holiday, which begins a seven-day public vacation.