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Five killed as blast rocks state-owned explosives factory in Turkey

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At least five workers died in a blast at an explosives factory in Turkey on Saturday, the defence ministry said.

The explosion occured at around 8.45am local time at the state-owned factory in the district of Elmadag, on the outskirts of Ankara, local media reported.

Turkey’s ministry of national defence said in a statement: “An explosion occurred at the MKE Rocket and Explosives Factory in the Elmadag district of Ankara. As a result of the explosion, five of our workers were martyred.”

It added that a “judicial and administrative investigation into the incident has been launched”.

Ankara governor Vasip Sahin told reporters that all staff had been evacuated and taken to safety. He said that there were no more workers trapped, waiting to be rescued, or hospitalised.

Mr Sahin stated that an explosion occurred possibly because of a chemical reaction inside the factory. “In the first evaluations, our friends are of the opinion that it is the result of a chemical reaction, and our public prosecutors are also investigating,” he said.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement on his Twitter account: “I wish mercy from Allah to our martyrs and condolences to their grieving families and relatives. May their authorities be almighty.”

Reports said that there were several ambulances and fire trucks were dispatched to the site of the explosion.

NTV reported that the explosion shattered the windows of nearby houses and other buildings.

The factory is state-owned and produces rockets and explosives for the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Interior.