A 22-year-old man has carried out a suicide attack at a kindergarten in eastern China, killing a total of eight persons and wounding many unsuspecting parents.
Authorities confirm on Friday that the bomber was among those who died in the tragic incident.
Dozens of people outside the blast scene also sustained varying degrees of injury, local media reports confirmed.
The terrorist was identified as an “introvert” who showed signs on mental illness. He rented a room near the kindergarten in Fengxian, from where he carried out the “motiveless” attack on Thursday.
A statement from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) confirms the suspect’s home was raided by police, and materials for homemade explosives were found.
Words such as “death,” “die” and “destroy” were written on the wall of his apartment in Chinese characters.
Police said the deceased suffered from dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, a disorder that can cause anxiety, depression, mood swings, heart and blood pressure problems.
The statement stressed that Xu [the bomber’s surname], was suspended from school in May 2016 before he got a restaurant job.
Liu Wenxiang, a police investigator, said on CCTV state television that the suspect was “introverted and withdrawn” when socializing with others.
Although China has experienced a string of terror attacks in schools and public places in the past, Xu’s motive for attacking a kindergarten near his home remains unknown.
One of the survivors said on a CCTV broadcast that the school gate had just opened for students to leave when the blast suddenly went off. However, the school management said they had not dismissed at that time. None of those caught in the huge fireball survived.
The woman who was holding a baby during her interaction with reporters, said from her hospital bed that she suffered a blackout and woke up while receiving treatments.
Fengxian county government said no teacher or student was among the dead, a report from AP confirmed.
The Jiangsu explosion killed 8 persons and wounded a total of 65, including eight who suffered grave injuries.
Witnesses said they thought the bomber was waiting among parents and guardians to pick up a child from the kindergarten.
While the education ministry has urged schools to beef up security as a preventive measure, police officers who carried out forensic analysis at the scene said there was no link to a gas cylinder from a nearby shop as earlier reports speculated.
Xu is believed to have found inspiration from previous attacks on schools in China.
“That could influence somebody who wanted their death to mean something in a lot of ways,” Dr. Michael Phillips, a psychiatry professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Emory University in the United States, said in an interview.
“The disorder Xu was described as having is not itself a mental illness. Rather, it suggests he suffered symptoms that could have stemmed from an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness.”
The doctor added that Xu’s age, 22, is the peak of mental illnesses.