A man shouted “die” as he doused an animation studio with fuel and set it ablaze in Japan on Thursday, public broadcaster NHK said, killing at least 33 people in the nation’s worst mass murder in nearly two decades.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the attack in the city of Kyoto – the latest grisly killing in a nation widely known for its low crime rates – “too appalling for words” and offered condolences.
Police detained a 41-year-old man who shouted “die” as he poured what appeared to be petrol around the three-story Kyoto Animation building shortly after 10 a.m. local time, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Thirty-three people were confirmed dead, an official for the Kyoto City Fire Department said.
Fire engulfed the building and white and black smoke billowed from its charred windows. It was Japan‘s worst mass killing since a suspected arson attack on a Tokyo building in 2001.
Shiro Misaki, a 47-year old owner of a neighborhood bar five minutes from studio, said he was driving nearby when he saw the thick smoke.
“Policemen were stopping traffic and it was really hazy with smoke,” he said. “Even after I got back to my restaurant I could smell the smoke.”
The prime minister said the cause was arson.
“Today, many people were killed and wounded in an arson murder case in Kyoto,” Abe said in a post on Twitter. “It is too appalling for words.”
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