A car rammed into a crowd of children outside a primary school in north-eastern China, killing five people and injuring 18, a local government spokesman said.

The driver was immediately taken into custody after the crash around afternoon in the coastal city of Huludao in Liaoning province.

Security camera footage showed a line of children crossing the street in front of their school when a car approaches, which then changes lanes and swerves into the crowd of children.

The official described the crash as “a major traffic accident” and that the cause was under investigation.

It wasn’t clear if the crash was a deliberate attack or whether the driver was swerving to avoid obstacles in front of him.

However, in June, a man used a kitchen knife to attack three boys and a mother near a school in Shanghai, killing two of the children.

Last year, police said a man set off an explosion at the front gate of a kindergarten in eastern China, which struck as relatives gathered to pick up their children at the end of the day, killing eight people.

The attackers’ most common motivations are identified as mental illness or alienation from society and a desire to settle scores.

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