Twenty school children in China wounded in hammer attack

Police outside of Beijing primary school that was the scene of a knife attack Tuesday morning

Police outside of Beijing primary school that was the scene of a knife attack Tuesday morning

A man was arrested after attacking students at a primary school in Beijing on Tuesday, according to a district government, in a rare act of violence against children in the Chinese capital.

The man is a maintenance worker at the school and his contract is due to expire at the end of January, police said.

The suspect was apprehended at the scene and an investigation has been launched, the statement said.

"To vent his discontent, Jia used his work hammer to hurt the students during a class break", China Central Television, the state broadcaster, reported.

Conflicting social media reports claimed the attacker used a knife or hammer during the ordeal and the children had suffered knife wounds to the head.

The attack happened at Xuanwu Normal Experimental Affiliated Number One Primary School just after 11.15am.

A clip of a meeting between school staff and parents circulated on social media, in which parents were told a "school worker" had carried out the attack.

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Outside the school gates Tuesday afternoon, parents who were there to pick up their kids said they had received little information about the attack.

"The details are still not clear", one parent wrote on WeChat.

All 20 of the injured children were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The school, founded in 1908, has 2,537 students and 199 teaching personnel, according to its website.

Violent crime is rare in China but there have been several attacks on school children in recent years. In October last year, a 39-year-old woman was detained on suspicion of stabbing 14 children at a kindergarten in Chongqing.

In November, a driver rammed his vehicle into a group of children crossing a street in front of an elementary school in northeastern Liaoning province, killing five people and injuring at least 19.

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