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Albania army depot blast death toll up to 21
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10:24, March 22, 2008

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Two more bodies were found on Friday at the ruins of an army depot blast, bringing the death toll to 21.

More than 1,000 troops and other rescue workers are still sifting through the wreckage, searching for more victims, local media reported.

The explosions occurred last Saturday when workers were dismantling old shells at an army depot near Vora, about 15 kilometers west of capital city of Tirana.

Apart from having killed at least 21 people so far, the explosions injured nearly another 300. And more than 2000 homes within a 4-kilometer radius of ground zero had been damaged, 318 of them were destroyed.

Albanian Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu has resigned from his job after the blast, and the country's opposition parties called on Prime Minister Sali Berisha to quit over the explosions.

Albania has some 100,000 tons of old ordnance it inherited from the past, stockpiled across the country, it was reported.

Albania has committed itself to the de-commission of the obsolete weapons, hoping this might help the poverty-stricken country get the ticket to a NATO membership at the alliance's April 2-4 summit in Bucharest, Romania.

Source: Xinhua



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