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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-07-11

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 11 killed in Cyprus munitions explosion

  • [01] 11 killed in Cyprus munitions explosion

    ANA-MPA/Greece on Monday expressed grief over a dawn accident at a naval station on Cyprus that has claimed the lives of at least 11 people, and said it was on stand-by to provide all assistance needed.

    "On the part of the Greek government and Prime Minister, I wish first of all to express our deepest condolences, solidarity and support to the Cypriot Hellenism, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, the government and all the political forces over this tragic event that has shocked Cyprus and Greece and has resulted in the death of Cypriot citizens. To the families of the dead, I express our deep grief and most heartfelt condolences," Greek defence minister Panos Beglitis said.ana-mpa

    Beglitis said he has already spoken with his Cypriot counterpart, defence minister Costas PapaCostas, to whom he conveyed Greek prime minister George Papandreou's condolences and solidarity, as well as Greece's and the Greek defence ministry's "readiness to provide every assistance necessary".ana-mpa

    The minister said he and the Greek National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) chief were in constant contact with Cyprus National Guard chief Lt.-Gen. Petros Tsalikides, who was keeping them abreast on the tragic event.

    Several powerful explosions occurred a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. at the "Evaggelos Florakis" Naval Base at Zygi, near Limassol, where 98 containers of explosives were stored. The explosions resulted after two of the containers caught fire, according to Cyprus police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos.ana-mpa

    According to Cypriot military sources, the 11 victims include five firefighters, four members of the National Guard and two sailors, but it is feared that the death toll may rise to 15, while at least 35 people have also been injured, three of which seriously.

    Tsalikides, who is at the scene of the disaster, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that "we're trying to manage the crisis", and spoke of a "large-scale disaster" after ammunition, stored in containers, caught on fire.

    According to Tsalikides, the ammunition had been confiscated nearly three years ago from a ship.ana-mpa

    Sources added that the munitions in storage had been confiscated in 2009 from the "Monchegorsk" that was sailing from Iran to Syria.

    The explosions caused extensive damage to the nearby Vassiliko power station, the largest of Cyprus' three power plants, resulting in extensive power shortages all over Cyprus, and also rocked nearby communities, causing extensive damage, with nearby Mari village suffering the brunt of the damages.

    A deep crater was caused on the spot of the blast.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

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