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78 Dead in Weapons Factory Explosion

An employee at a Yemen munitions factory says a powerful explosion ripped through the town of Jaar when a looter dropped a cigarette on a pile of gunpowder, killing at least 78 people. Residents of Jaar were taking what they could from the factory a day after Islamic militants raided it and made off with two armored cars, a tank, and several pickup trucks mounted with machine guns. The militants, adherents of the ultraconservative Islamic movement called Salafism, seized the factory as security forces were busy dealing with protests calling for the ouster of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh.