BEIJING (MCT) — A jeep plowed through a crowded sidewalk at Beijing's Tiananmen Square at lunchtime Monday in an incident that left three dead and many injured, according to the state news service.
The driver and two passengers were killed in the 12:05 p.m. incident. The injured included tourists and security officials stationed at one of the most well-guarded locations in all of China.
The Xinhua news service said only that the incident was "under investigation," but it appeared to have been a deliberate attack. The vehicle had been driven about 500 meters along the sidewalk heading towards the iconic portrait of Mao Tse-tung before it burst into flames. It was unclear whether it exploded or was stopped by security personnel.
Photographs on Sina.com, a microblog service, showed plumes of smoke rising from the sidewalk near the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which is on the north side of Tiananmen Square leading into the Forbidden City, traditional home of China's emperors. The state news service said the vehicle had headed south on Nanchizi, the street on the east side of the Forbidden City, before turning onto the sidewalk.
Tiananmen Square is the most sensitive location in China and frequently the scene of attempted protests and self-immolations. The square is best-known for the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
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