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03 October 2023

Blast rips through Russian shopping centre, 2 dead

By Reuters

A blast ripped through a five-storey shopping centre in the southwestern Russian city of Ufa on Saturday, starting a fire that killed two people and injured five.

Shoppers were evacuated and firefighting teams tackled the blaze at the huge complex, which houses stores, restaurants and night clubs in the largest city in Russia's Bashkiria region, which has a large Muslim population.

Television images showed the building engulfed in flames, with plumes of smoke rising above the blaze.

The bodies of two people were found after firefighters searched the building.

"One is a man whose identity is being determined. Earlier the body of a girl was found, who was born in 1993," Maksim Rodionov, a spokesman for the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs, told Interfax news agency.

Five people were injured in the fire, three of whom were hospitalised, Oleg Zugeyev, spokesman of the regional Emergencies Ministry, told news agency RIA.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, but Zugeyev said the fire was believed to have started in a room reserved for smoking waterpipes located on the third floor.