Soldiers Killed in Explosion

BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese state media say 17 soldiers have been killed in an accidental explosion at an armory in central China.

The official Xinhua News Agency says the blast ripped through the building as the soldiers were stacking explosives inside Tuesday afternoon. Xinhua says the cause of the blast is under investigation.

Hengyang is in the central province of Hunan. A Hengyang city policewoman surnamed Xiao confirmed the accident on Wednesday and said no civilians were injured.

China's military operates with a high degree of secrecy and information about explosions, plane crashes and other accidents is usually tightly controlled.

While the explosion was called an accident, Chinese security forces have come under attack in recent years from Islamic extremists fighting for independence for the northwestern region of Xinjiang.


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