BY AFP,BEIJING,26TH JULY 2018-A loud blast occurred near the US embassy in Beijing on Thursday, according to multiple eyewitness reports on social media.
Video clips posted online showed smoke in the air outside the diplomatic compound in the Chinese capital and security personnel rushing in the background, with witnesses saying an explosion had occurred.
The location appeared to be near where Chinese citizens typically line up to enter the US embassy for visa interviews.
However, the details of the incident were not immediately clear as witness reports conflicted.
The US Embassy declined comment and Chinese security forces could not immediately be reached.
There is confusion on the cause of the explosion but State media outlet, Global Times, tweeted that police had taken away a woman who had tried to set herself on fire near the embassy at 11am local time, several hours before the reported blast.
It was not immediately unclear if the two incidents were related.
The diplomatic area where the incident took place is on the outskirts of Beijing and home to several embassies, including those of the United States, India and Israel.