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BEIRUT, September 1, 2018 (AFP) - A blast killed at least one person in a region of north Syria controlled by Turkey-backed Syrian rebel groups, a witness and a war monitor said on Saturday.

The explosion in Azaz was caused by a car bomb, said the war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and hit a sit-in to demand new elections to the local council, the witness said.

The Observatory told AFP that one person was killed and others injured. The witness said two were killed and 25 injured.

Northern Syria has become a haven for large numbers of displaced people who have sought refuge from fighting elsewhere in the country.

Meanwhile, Turkey officially designated the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) insurgent group as a "terrorist" organisation, ahead of an anticipated operation by the Syrian regime in the province of Idlib, much of which is controlled by the group.

Turkey, which has already listed Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda as terror groups, updated its list of terror groups under a document published in the official gazette and included HTS on the new list.

BEIJING, August 28, 2018 (News Wires) - Five people were killed by an explosion at an aluminum plant in eastern China’s Jiangsu province on Tuesday morning, state-run China News reported, citing local authorities.

The blast occurred at around 2 a.m. (18:00 GMT) in the city of Jiangyin, at a plant belonging to a company named as Yize Aluminium, according to the report. Two people died at the scene and a further three in hospital, where one other victim is in a non-life-threatening condition.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation, the report said.

BEIRUT, August 12, 2018 (News Wires) — Syrian opposition activists say an explosion in the country's north has killed at least 18 people and wounded many others. The cause of the blast wasn't immediately known.

The opposition-run Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, says the blast occurred on Sunday in the village of Sarmada near the Turkish border and "killed and wounded dozens." The explosion collapsed a five-story building, burying many of the victims.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 18. It's unclear if the casualties are all civilians.

The Observatory says an arms depot in the basement of a building had detonated. It says the depot was run by an arms dealer close to the al-Qaeda-linked Levant Liberation Committee.

Meanwhile, Syrian government forces are fighting rebels in Idlib province.

BAGHDAD, July 21, 2018 (MENA) - Heavy gunfire has been heard following an explosion that hit a former headquarter of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in northwestern Kirkuk, an Iraqi security source said on Saturday.

No casualties have been reported, Alsumaria news channel quoted the source as saying.

Meanwhile, security forces cordoned off the scene of the explosion, the sources added.


SUN PRAIRIE, Wis., July 11, 2018 (News Wires) - An explosion rocked a Wisconsin community after a contractor struck a natural gas main in a downtown area filled with bars and other businesses, injuring two firefighters and a police officer, authorities said.

Firefighters and police officers responded to a reported gas leak, and an evacuation was underway when the blast happened Tuesday, said Sun Prairie police Lt. Kevin Konopacki. He added that lives were likely saved as a result of the evacuation.

No deaths were reported, but Konopacki said buildings would be searched in the Madison, Wisconsin, suburb of about 30,000 once the flames were out. Firefighters were still battling flames more than three hours after the explosion.

The powerful blast around 7:15 p.m. sent a plume of smoke and flames into the air.

Konopacki said the firefighters were taken to a hospital, while the officer was treated at the scene. He said some civilians suffered minor injuries, but none required hospitalisation. He didn't know the exact number of civilians hurt.

WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns said workers for a contractor apparently punctured a 4-inch natural gas main, sending gas leaking into a building ahead of the explosion. All 12 gas lines in the area were shut off by about 9:30 p.m.

The blast about half a block from City Hall appeared to be centered on the Barr House, a pub. Authorities evacuated a half-mile radius and set up a shelter at Sun Prairie High School.

STRASBOURG, France, June 6, 2018 (News Wires) - An explosion at a grain storage facility in the eastern French city of Strasbourg seriously injured three people on Wednesday morning, emergency services said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, which set ablaze the silo located on the banks of the river Rhine, on the border with Germany.

The site is owned by agricultural cooperative Comptoir agricole. Local grain brokers said it had a storage capacity of 40,000 tonnes.

Comptoir agricole declined to comment.

France is the European Union’s largest grains producer and exporter. The Rhine serves an important route for transporting grain from eastern France to northern European countries like Germany and the Netherlands.

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