Blast in China firecracker workshop kills 13

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BEIJING, Nov 27 (Reuters) An explosion in an illegal fireworks workshop in central China killed thirteen people today, state media reported, just days after police launched a safety crackdown against fireworks manufacturers.

The blast in rural Hunan province tore apart a house where villagers were assembling the firecrackers that many Chinese people let off at weddings and other celebrations, Xinhua news agency reported.

Six people were injured, the report said.

The explosion came two days after five children were killed and one seriously wounded by a blast when playing in an abandoned firecracker factory in the country's north.

Blasts at fireworks makers, many unlicenced and in densely settled areas, are common in China. Hundreds of such accidents cause about 450 deaths a year.

Last week, China launched a safety drive among firework makers after a string of explosions killed 40 people since October, state media reported.

REUTERS RJ RK2037

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