Bangladesh mosque blast death toll rises to 24; probes starting


The death toll from a suspected gas explosion and fire at a mosque outside the capital of Bangaldesh has risen to 24, with the authorities starting an investigation into the blast, officials said on Sunday.

The Friday night explosion hit as Muslim worshippers were about to end their evening prayers at the Baitus Salat Jame mosque in Narayanganj district, nearly 25 kilometres south of Dhaka. Thirty-seven victims with severe wounds were taken to Dhaka's specialist burn and plastic surgery institute, according to police officer Zayedul Alam.

Four people died at the hospital on Sunday, bringing the total number of fatalities from the explosion to 24, said Shamanto Lal Sen, head of the institute. He said that the remaining 13 at the hospital are not out of danger yet.

Investigators suspect gas from an underground pipeline accumulated in the mosque, where the doors and windows were sealed, and might have caused the explosion. Six air conditioners inside the mosque also exploded, according to Abdullah Al Arefin of the fire service and civil defence department.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the officials also to see whether the mosque was constructed in line with the design approved by the authorities concerned.

She told parliament that a committee has already started an investigation to ascertain the cause of the fatal accident. (dpa)

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