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Blast outside school in China kills at least 2

September 9, 2013

BEIJING (AP) — An explosion Tuesday morning outside a school in southern China has killed at least two people and injured 17.

Initial reports from the scene described the blast in the resort city of Guilin as an accident, although police declined to confirm that. There were no reports of students among the injured.

The explosion struck about 7 a.m. as children were arriving at Balijie Primary School, which is near a four lane road in urban Lingchuan county.

The official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV cited eyewitnesses as saying a motorized flatbed tricycle caught fire as it was passing the school and then exploded, setting other vehicles on fire and blowing out the windows in nearby cars and buildings. Such tricycles are frequently used to transport goods in smaller Chinese cities.

Footage from the scene showed badly burned victims sitting dazed in the street as flames licked motorcycles around them. Debris, including half a dozen motor scooters and electric bicycles, was spread across the road and investigators collected evidence.

CCTV said the city government had ordered a security crackdown focusing on storage and handling of explosive materials.

A police officer in the area, who gave only her surname, Li, said an investigation was underway to determine a cause.

Guilin is famed for its natural scenery dominated by the Li River and striking karst outcroppings.

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