Scores injured in Belarus explosion

At least 40 people have been injured in an explosion in Minsk, Belarus' capital, during a concert celebrating Independence Day, police and witnesses said.

A police official said the explosion occurred early Friday morning a little after midnight.

"Around 40 people have been injured," he said.

The officer was not able to confirm any fatalities or how serious the injuries were.

Large explosion

Interfax news agency cited health ministry officials saying around 50 people had been hospitalised and quoted witnesses saying they saw a lot of blood and people without fingers and toes in the moments after the blast.

The cause of the explosion had not been determined, he said.

One witness said: "I heard a loud explosion and then there was black smoke. People started shouting but no one stopped the concert.

They just isolated the place around the explosion and emergency vehicles began coming," he said.

A criminal inquiry has been opened, with Minsk police chief Anatoly Kuleshov telling ITAR-TASS he suspected "hooliganism." Bomb experts were sifting through debris at the scene, Russian news agencies reported.

Some 2,000 musicians were due to perform in the massive "We are Belarussians" outdoor concert.