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Emergencies Ministry members gather near a damaged apartment block after its part collapsed in the town of Izhevsk, Russia November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Dmitry Solodyankin


MOSCOW (Reuters) - At least two people died and two were injured on Thursday after a part of a nine-storey building collapsed in the Russian city of Izhevsk, an emergencies ministry official said, after an apparent gas explosion.

The official said there were still some people trapped under debris of the building in Izhevsk, which is 1,220 km (760 miles) east of Moscow and hosts the plant that manufactures the famed Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Russia's Investigation Committee said a natural gas blast appeared to have caused the building collapse.

There have been several similar accidents across Russia in recent years due to a poor safety record of gas usage, including in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in December 2015 where at least five people died.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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