12 Jan 2009

Gas explosion at Kuwait prayer hall

9:14 am on 12 January 2009

An explosion caused by a gas leak badly damaged a Shi'ite Muslim prayer hall in Kuwait on Sunday, killing a Bangladeshi man and injuring at least six people, the Gulf Arab state's interior minister said.

Sheikh Jaber Khaled al-Sabah, inspecting rescue operations at the partly collapsed two-storey building, said three people are trapped under rubble and one of them, from Bangladesh, was feared dead.

Rescuers were still trying to reach the others. Four people were taken to hospital, one in serious condition.

A resident said the prayer hall was not crowded when the blast occurred, helping prevent a worse tragedy.

Police cordoned off the building in the town of Ahmadi, a major energy centre in the Gulf Arab oil exporting state.

The site is close to the headquarters of state oil companies.