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Death Toll In Serbian Factory Blast Rises To Seven

Firefighters respond to the explosions in the Serb munitions factory in Uzice.
BELGRADE (Reuters) -- Seven people have died in four explosions that ripped through an ammunition factory in western Serbia, a minister said.

Police were investigating the cause of the blasts at the Prvi Partizan factory in Uzice, 160 kilometers west of Belgrade, Deputy Interior Minister Predrag Maric said.

"Seven people, six women and one man, died and a total of 14 were injured in explosions on Thursday night [September 3] in an underground ammunition loading facility," Maric said.

Prvi Partizan is Serbia's single largest ammunition factory. It produces military and hunting ammunition as well as gunpowder and explosives.

Serbian defense industries have stepped up production in past two years, mainly exporting to Iraq, Libya, the United States, and Myanmar.

The total value of export deals in 2008 exceeded $600 million.