Huge damage in Cyprus following explosions in seized Iranian weapons cache
Huge explosions in a seized Iranian weapons cache at a Greek Cypriot naval base in the south of the country killed at least 12 people on Monday, reports said. The force of the blasts blew out windows in the nearby fishing village of Zygi. The country's largest power station at Vassiliko right next to the base was virtually levelled by the blast, causing widespread power cuts. Three of its four main buildings were levelled along the generator's two main fuel tanks, AFP said.
Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis told the state CNA news agency that the village of Mari just east of the base was devastated by the blast. The speaker of parliament, Yiannakis Omirou, who is a former defense minister, said the blast had been so massive that the entire arms cache had been destroyed without trace.
Health Minister Christos Patsalides said three people were undergoing emergency surgery after being seriously wounded by the blasts. Another 35 to 40 people had suffered more minor injuries, he said.
National Guard chief Petros Tsaliklides conveyed that the explosions hit among containers of Iranian munitions seized from Cypriot-flagged vessel M/V Monchegorsk in 2009. It was intercepted in the eastern Mediterranean en route to Syria.