At least 22 dead in Saudi petrol explosion

Nov. 1, 2012 at 8:30 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The Saudi government said civil defense officials were dispatched to the scene of a deadly gasoline tanker explosion Thursday in Riyadh.

The official Saudi Press Agency said a traffic accident led to the explosion of a gas tanker Thursday. A gas leak of unknown quantity was reported near the scene, east of Riyadh. The agency said there were "a number of deaths and injuries."

"The gas leak caused significant damage as a result of fire and explosion, which occurred in the incident due to the spread of gas at the site, resulting in a number of traffic accidents and leading to a number of victims," Capt. Mohamed al-Hubail al-Hammadi, a spokesman for Saudi Civil Defense, told the press agency.

Hammadi said authorities sent security personnel as well as Lt. Gen. Saad bin Abdullah al-Tuwaijri, director general of civil defense, to the scene.

Arab broadcaster al-Jazeera reports at least 22 people were killed during the accident. State television reported at least 111 people were injured.

None of the reports suggested the incident was anything other than a traffic accident.

One witness told al-Jazeera that the death toll "is definitely going to increase," describing the explosion as "huge."

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