Magnitogorsk explosion
© Reuters / Andrey Serebryakov
Emergency workers at the site of a partially collapsed apartment block in Magnitogorsk, Russia
A natural gas explosion remains the primary version of the New Year's Eve tragedy in Magnitogorsk, Russian investigators have said, urging the media to not take the claims of terrorist groups at face value.

"Investigators have been studying all the possible versions of the tragedy from the very beginning. The gas blast remains the main one," spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said on Thursday, stressing that "experts and forensics did not find any traces of explosives and their components on the rubble collected at the scene."

The statement from the Investigative Committee comes shortly after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the blast. On Wednesday, the terrorist group published an article in one of its mouthpieces, stating that its unit had planted "explosives" in the building. Despite the lack of any solid evidence, the claims were repeated by a number of media outlets.

"I'd advise the journalists not to trust the statements by terrorist groups, who, as you know, claim their involvement into any major incidents in different countries," Petrenko stated.

The blast rocked the Magnitogorsk house early on New Year's Eve, obliterating one section of it and heavily damaging another. The explosion claimed the lives of 39 people, while 18 were rescued shortly after the blast, and 11 others during the search through the rubble. The entire building, including the undamaged sections, is now marked for demolition. Residents will be resettled elsewhere.