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Chechnya Military Barracks Blast Kills 12 --> The site of the 7 February explosion (ITAR-TASS) 8 February 2006 -- Officials say 12 people were killed and at least 22 injured in an explosion at a military barracks in Russia's southern republic of Chechnya.

The blast in Kurchaloi, some 30 kilometers east of the capital Grozny, on 7 February caused the two-story building to collapse.

Prosecutors say the most likely cause for the blast was a natural-gas leak. A criminal investigation for violation of fire-safety precautions and negligence has been opened.

But Chechen prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov said a terrorist act has not been ruled out.

The Kurchaloi barracks houses the Vostok battalion, a special Defense Ministry security unit of mostly Chechen soldiers.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS,

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