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Seven dead in Nevada blast

5:24 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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HAWTHORNE ARMY DEPOT, Nevada (NBC NEWS) -- Seven Marines were killed and at least seven others injured Monday night when a mortar exploded during a training exercise in Nevada.

The fatal explosion happened at Hawthorne Army Depot, a site used for live-fire training, storage and disposal of ammunition.

The Marines were part of the Second Division based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Marine Corps has issued an indefinite moratorium on firing of all such mortars worldwide until an investigation is complete.

Victims were airlifted to hospitals with injuries ranging from trauma to fractures.

Still unclear is whether the mortar exploded prematurely inside its firing tube or as Marines were picking it up to load it.

A Marine spokesman said the dead would be identified publicly 24 hours after their next of kin were notified.

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