Fireworks factory blast kills 18

A huge explosion at an illegal fireworks factory killed 18 people, including 10 children, and wounded 17 others today in western India, police said.

The blast, which occurred before dawn, blew apart the workshop set up in a home in a slum in the town of Deeg, said area police chief Rohit Mahajan.

Mahajan said the force of the blast also brought down two neighbouring homes, leading to the high death toll that included 10 children.

Deeg is some 120 miles northwest of Jaipur, the capital of India's Rajasthan state.

Thousands of illicit firework factories spring up every year in India ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, when revelers fire them off in celebration. Diwali begins this year on 28 October.