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Gas Line Explodes Near Mosque, Killing 16

Dozens of injuries also reported after blast in Bangladesh
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2020 9:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – An underground gas pipeline near a mosque exploded during evening prayers outside Bangladesh's capital, leaving 16 Muslim worshipers dead and dozens injured with critical burns, officials say. The blast occurred Friday night as people were finishing their prayers at Baitus Salat Jame Mosque at Narayanganj, per a local police chief. By Saturday afternoon, 16 people, including a 7-year-old boy, had succumbed to their injuries, the AP reports. Doctors at a state-run hospital's burn unit were treating at least 37 people with burns on up to 90% of their bodies, said a unit coordinator. TV stations reported that because of the impact of the blast, at least six air conditioners also exploded inside the mosque.

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Abdullah Al Arefin, assistant director of the Fire Service and Civil Defense, said officials suspected that gas had accumulated inside the mosque from a leak in the underground pipeline, and that it had gone unnoticed. "The gas could not go out, as the windows of the mosque were shut because of the air conditioners," he said. Faulty installation of gas lines are often reported by Bangladeshi media, while unplanned road-digging work often leads to disasters in the country, which is seeking rapid industrial expansion and economic development. Firefighters continue to investigate the cause of the explosion.

(Read more Bangladesh stories.)

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