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22 dead, dozens injured after explosion at Havana hotel

At least 22 people have died and more than 60 have been hospitalised after a massive explosion rocked one of Cuba’s most exclusive five-star hotels.

It is believed a gas tanker which was parked outside the Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana ignited, causing an explosion which destroyed several floors of the building.

The historic hotel was set for a post-pandemic reopening in four days.

It now lies in ruins, with much of its outer wall torn off.

Search and rescue operations are currently under way to locate people trapped under the debris.

The Cuban presidency said the dead included a pregnant woman and a child.

A school which is located directly behind the hotel was unaffected, with local officials confirming all its children have been safely evacuated.

Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel has visited the damage site, which sits opposite the government’s old congressional building. The president said: “It was not a bomb or an attack, it’s an unfortunate accident.”

Editing by Omotola Oguneye