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Belgium restaurant blast kills two, injures 14

16 January 2018

Belgian rescuers found two dead bodies early on January 16 at the site of a powerful suspected gas explosion in the port city of Antwerp that also injured 14 people, police said. The blast the previous night collapsed or severely damaged several buildings in the Paardenmarkt area of central Antwerp.

"Police confirm two more victims found under the rubble, both deceased. The victims have not yet been identified," Antwerp police said on Twitter.

Several people were pulled alive from the rubble. Earlier, the number of wounded was put at 14, five of them seriously and one in a critical condition.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported that a gas leak was suspected as the cause of the blast at around 9:30pm on December 15, though this has yet to be confirmed. The collapsed building is believed to be a pizza restaurant with residential flats above.

Belgium has been in a state of high alert since high alert ever since Brussels was hit by three co-ordinated suicide bombings in March 2016, but Antwerp police announced that the blast was not part of a terror attack.

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