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2 die in blast at S. Africa jewelry pawn shop

Tuesday - 11/12/2013, 3:06pm  ET

Police respond to a blast at a shop which purchases gold and jewelry near a mall in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 after a blast hit the store killing at least two people and injuring three others. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

CARLEY PETESCH
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- An explosion rocked a store that buys gold and jewelry in Johannesburg on Tuesday, killing at least two people and injuring three others. The exact cause of the blast was not immediately clear, but police suspect criminal activity.

The explosion around 5:30 p.m. targeted a Moneypoint store, which exchanges or pawns jewelry, including diamonds, near the Eastgate Mall in the Bedfordview area of the city, chief Superintendent of Ekurhuleni Police Wilfred Kgasago said.

Brig. Neville Malila said no arrests have been made. He declined to specify the type of criminal activity police suspected, but ruled out terrorism.

"We can confirm two people are dead and three people are injured," he said. "We don't have nationalities. We don't have names."

Forensic and bomb disposal experts were checking the scene, as were sniffer dogs, firefighters and police, he said. The building has a large gate in front of it and police kept the public and media at a distance.

Police did not know how many people were inside the shop at the time of the explosion.

Clyde Alley, who was driving nearby, said the blast was loud.

"I sped off, not knowing what it was," he said. "I went straight home, then came back here" to learn what had happened.

In a statement, police appealed to anyone with information to contact them.

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Associated Press Senior Producer Ed Brown contributed to this report from Johannesburg.


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