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At least 17 schoolgirls dead in Turkey gas explosion

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At least 17 schoolgirls dead in Turkey gas explosion

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At least 17 girls are now known to have died in a gas explosion in southern Turkey.
Twenty-seven others were hurt in the blast, and several more were feared trapped under the rubble. The explosion ripped through the three-storey building in Balcilar, in the mountainous region of Tashkent.

Survivors said they smelled gas before it exploded.
Investigators believe a gas bottle exploded in the basement. The girls, all aged between eight and 16, were taking part in a course of Islamic study.
Some Turkish commentators said the school was illegal because religious courses outside state control are prohibited in Turkey.

It is not the first time this region of Turkey has seen such a disaster. Four years ago, 92 people died when an apartment block collapsed. That was blamed on faulty workmanship and materials.