No fewer than a dozen people are believed to be injured with some children feared dead after an explosion struck outside an kindergarten in eastern China, according to reports.
According to Daily Star UK, the blast struck outside the entrance to the Chuangxin Kindergarten in Fengxian County, Jiangsu Province as parents were picking up their children, South China Morning Post reports.
Local police said a number of people, including children, were injured in the blast.
Horrifying pictures published by Chinese media show the bodies of young children strewn across the floor outside the entrance to the kindergarten.
Other harrowing images show victims laying motionless covered in blood, some with their clothes burned off.
Emergency services have rushed to the scene but the cause of the explosion is not yet known.
Local newspaper Xiandaikuaibao report that the blast appears to have been caused by a bottle of cooking gas.
A local shop owner told Sohu media: “About 5pm, we heard a blast and thought it might have been a gas explosion at a nearby food vendor.”
He added: “Many people could be dead.”
Dramatic footage posted to social media appeares to show the moment the blast struck at around 4.50pm local time.
Kindergartens in China have been targeted before in apparent revenge attacks carried out by people bearing grudges against their neighbors and society.
China maintains tight control over firearms and most attacks are carried out using knives, axes or homemade explosives.