Three children killed in flat explosion

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Three primary school children died yesterday in an explosion that police are treating as suspicious.

The two boys and a girl were killed when a blast tore through a flat in Slateford Road in the west of the Edinburgh just after 3pm. A woman who was injured in the incident was being treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary last night.

A police spokesman said: "A criminal investigation is currently under way and nothing more can be said at this time into the circumstances which led to their deaths."

It was first thought the children had died in a gas explosion but Lothian and Borders Police said there was no fault with the supply.

The explosion occurred at a modern terraced block of three-storey town houses. Foreign students who have lived in the block for a year said they believed the injured woman lived in the property with her three children, and that they had only recently moved in. Local reports said she escaped the building by jumping from a balcony.

Moe Harbi, a 22-year-old Saudi Arabian chemical engineering student, was asleep when the explosion occurred. He said: "There was a big bang and it shook me awake. Suddenly the police were there and the keeper opened the door for the police. I could smell gas before it happened. It was very strong."

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said there was "no significant structural damage to the building" and confirmed that the fire was extinguished very quickly.

Scotland Gas Networks confirmed the explosion did not involve its network.