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(3rd LD) University gripped by parcel explosion scare

All Headlines 15:40 June 13, 2017

(ATTN: REWRITES throughout with more updates and new photos)

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- A university in western Seoul was engulfed with fear on Tuesday after a delivered parcel filled with explosives went off in a faculty building, injuring a professor.

The explosion occurred in an engineering faculty building at Yonsei University around 8:41 a.m., when a professor, identified only by his surname Kim, opened a box in his office on the fourth floor, according to the police.

He suffered minor burns on his neck, chest and hands, and is being treated at a nearby hospital. Kim teaches architecture at the university.

The blast prompted authorities to send a military bomb squad and a police special operations unit to the scene, on the possibility it was a terror attack.

Kim told the police that he found the box in a shopping bag hanging on a door knob, and it "suddenly exploded when I opened it."

Personnel from the military bomb squad canvas the explosion area with a bomb-sniffing dog at Yonsei University on June 13, 2017 (Yonhap)

Witnesses at the scene also told police that a parcel went off suddenly, and they saw "small bolts shoot out" of the box.

Students and staff were told to evacuate the building, causing a commotion as they showed panic following the explosion.

"I got out of the building with my friends. I heard no sound of a 'boom'," said a 28-year-old student named Cho.

The police suspect that the explosives were made by an amateur, citing the clumsiness of the device's composition. A photo released by the police later showed a box, partially burned, with a plastic drink tumbler that was filled with dozens of small bolts, which were probably put in to maximize casualties, they said.

The portable cup was connected to wires and four batteries that are sold at any hardware store.

A team of some 70 police officers from a bomb squad and crime lab are working at the scene to find out the exact cause of the incident and analyze the explosive device, the police said. They have cordoned off the area.

The police added that they will also look into the case as a possible misdeed by a student who holds a personal grudge against the professor.

The photo shows the explosive used in an attack at Yonsei University on June 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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