'Thousands killed' in N. Korea trains blast

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The Independent Online

Thousands of people were reportedly killed or injured today when two trains collided and exploded in a North Korean train station, South Korean media reported.

Thousands of people were reportedly killed or injured today when two trains collided and exploded in a North Korean train station, South Korean media reported.

The claims were made by South Korean media, which reported that the trains were carrying oil and liquefied petroleum gas.

The blast came only hours after the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, was reported to have passed through the station as he returned from China.

The number killed or injured could reach 3,000, South Korea's all-news cable channel, YTN, reported.

"The area around Ryongchon station has turned into ruins as if it were bombarded," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted witnesses as saying.

Yonhap said the explosion occurred about 1pm at Ryongchon, a town 12 miles from the Chinese border.

YTN reported that the causalities included Chinese living in the North Korean border region, and that Chinese in Dandong were desperate to learn about their relatives.

North Korea's state-run news agency on Thursday confirmed that Kim had made a secretive trip to China between Monday and yesterday, but carried no comments on the reported explosion.

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