Iranian munitions stored at Cyprus naval base exploded
A naval base in southern Cyprus, where a huge explosion happened Monday morning, was storing munitions which Cyprus had confiscated in 2009 from the Monchegorsk, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria, The Guardian reported.
The blast has ripped through the Evangelos Florakis base, killing at least 10 people, injuring dozens more, and knocking out the island's largest power plant.
The injured have been taken to hospitals in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca and the authorities are appealing for people to give blood.
The cause of the blast remains unclear, although it is thought that a munitions dump may have exploded. Unconfirmed reports suggest that a pile of confiscated dynamite may have blown up.
A spokesman for the ministry of defence said: "There are a number of dead which we cannot confirm yet."
The intensity of the blast caused extensive damage to a neighbouring community, and in a popular resort 3km from the site, the windows and doors of beachside restaurants were blown out.
"The place looks like it was hit by a massive bomb," a witness told Reuters.
State radio quoted the national guard chief, Petros Tsalikides, who is at the naval base, as saying that the explosion caused a "great catastrophe".
Video broadcast on CyBC showed numerous damaged cars stopped along a stretch of highway near the naval base. One person who was in one of the cars passing the base at the time of the explosion told CyBC that it felt like "a bomb had been dropped on the car".
Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said that a fire at a nearby Vasiliko power station has been contained.
An official for the Cyprus Electricity Authority, Yiannis Tsouloftas, said the power station the island's primary electricity generator sustained extensive damage as a result of the explosion's concussion wave and will remain offline on Monday.
Tsouloftas said the island's two other smaller power stations will try to cover electricity demand, but authorities are appealing to the public to reduce consumption as much as possible.