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Minsk subway station blast kills 11

MINSK, Belarus, April 11 (UPI) -- An explosion ripped a subway station in Minsk, Belarus, at rush hour Monday, killing at least 11 people and wounded scores more, officials said.

Belorusskie Novosti said television channel ONT reported the death toll had reached 11, with 126 people injured. The news agency reported witnesses said the blast took place after two opposing trains stopped at the station but it wasn't clear whether it occurred inside a train car or on the platform.

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The Los Angeles Times reported Belarus law enforcement agencies said the explosion was an act of terrorism. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called on the public for help in tracking down "these freaks" who were responsible.

The blast at the Oktyabrskaya metro station occurred at 5:55 p.m., the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported. The cause of the explosion was not known.

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"I just entered the station to go pick up our daughter from my mother-in-law's when I felt a growing smell of burning and saw many people rushing out, some of them screaming," Ivan Kaplun, who lives close to the station, told the Times by phone.

Smoke was seen pouring from the station, which was cordoned off by police.

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The Belarusian news agency Telegraf reported witnesses said people covered with blood were seen coming out of the subway. The subway structures had not collapsed, the news agency said.

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The rapid transit station is near residence of Lukashenko, who arrived by motorcade about 2 1/2 hours later to the blast site and lay down flowers before leaving for an emergency meeting.

"I must admit we have been very seriously challenged," the Times quoted Lukashenko saying in televised remarks. "An adequate response is needed and this response must be found."

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