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Three children are killed in ‘suspicious’ explosion at Edinburgh flats

The deaths of three young children in an explosion are being treated as suspicious, police have said.

The primary school children were found after a blast in a block of flats in Edinburgh's Slateford Road at around 3pm.

It was thought the children died in a gas explosion but last night Lothian and Borders Police said there was no fault with the supply.

A police spokesman said: “A criminal investigation is currently under way and nothing more can be said at this time into the circumstances which led to their deaths.”

A woman, believed to be the children's mother, is being treated in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Neighbours said she had jumped from the third floor balcony of the modern terrace block.

They described hearing the noise of a blast and the smell of gas.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue also extinguished what was described as a “small fire” on the first floor of the building.

Neighbour Fattah Hamami (19) said: “I think she dropped herself from the third-floor balcony.”

Omar Barifah (20) said: “I came outside the building and she was covered up. I've been told by neighbours she jumped.

“I'm very sorry. It's a very sad thing to happen.”

Moe Harbi (22) said he smelt gas at about 1am yesterday.

The chemical engineering student, from Saudi Arabia, said: “I thought it was from my flat though I checked the kitchen and the oven and then I slept. I didn't think it was from my neighbours.”

Mr Harbi said he arrived back at his home shortly after the explosion occurred and was still waiting to get into the property.

Mr Hamami was sleeping when the explosion occurred.

He said: “There was a big bang and it shook me awake.

“Suddenly the police were there and the keeper opened the door for the police.

“I could smell gas before it happened. It was very strong.”

Post-mortem examinations are to be carried out on the three |children, two boys and a girl, and police said no details about their identities would be released until these were completed.

Scotland Gas Networks sent engineers to the scene but said the explosion did not involve its network.

A spokesman said: “Our engineers will remain in the area to provide expert advice to the emergency services, if required.”

City councillor Gordon Buchan, who represents the Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart ward, said Edinburgh City Council would visit the building when it had been made safe and provide assistance to anyone affected by the blast.

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