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'12 injured' in central London hotel explosion

12 people have been injured, six of whom were taken to hospital following a suspected gas explosion at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Portman Square, central London late last night.

Six people were treated at the scene and were not taken to hospital, a spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service has said.

A further six casualties were taken to hospital for further treatment, with two men sustaining leg injuries in the blast.

It is thought that the blast occurred in in the basement caused part of the building to collapse, London Fire Brigade has said.

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Emergency services at the scene of London hotel blast

Emergency services are gathered near the scene of a suspected gas explosion at a hotel in Portman Square, central London.

Jason Killens, the Operations Director for the London Ambulance Service has tweeted this image:

Suspected gas explosion at central London hotel

A hotel has been evacuated after a suspected gas explosion at a hotel on Portman Square, central London, the Metropolitan Police have said.

Police say a "small number" of casualties are being treated.

Police were called to the hotel - thought to be the Churchill Hyatt Regency Hotel in Portman Square just before midnight.

The Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service are also in attendance.

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Islamic State militants release seventh John Cantlie video

Credit: ITV NEWS

The seventh video in a series 'starring' British hostage John Cantlie has been released by the self-styled Islamic State militants holding him

The photojournalist delivers an apparently-scripted message from behind a desk wearing an orange jumpsuit in the latest episode in a series titled Lend Me Your Ears.

The clip, which lasts for almost nine minutes, includes the 43-year-old photojournalist giving an account of what he claims was a failed rescue attempt by American forces in July.

Cantlie also says he has accepted "long ago" that his fate is "overwhelmingly likely" to be the same as other captives.

Introducing the latest instalment, he says: "In this programme I will tell you about a failed raid to rescue us and how it feels to be left for dead by your own government."

Mr Cantlie goes on to claim that the Americans staged an "incredibly complex, risky and expensive" attempt to rescue hostages in July.

He said: "The raid involved two dozen Delta Force commandos, several Black Hawk helicopters, gunships, Predator drones, F18 Hornet Jets and refuelling aircraft.

"It took weeks of rehearsals and must have cost tens of millions to perform - but we weren't there.

"The Islamic State, anticipating such a move, just put us into cars and moved us to another prison days beforehand."

Britain and America are accused in the video of taking military action rather than negotiating the release of hostages through options such as ransom payments.

"We were left to die. It's the worst feeling in the world being left behind like that," Mr Cantlie says.

Towards the end of the video, he says: "I will continue to speak out against this military action ... for as long as the mujahideen allow me to live."

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