12 Slightly Hurt in Northern Cyprus Turkish Army Depot Blast

A worker on a balcony, below right, cleans up the debris after an explosion at an army's munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA (AP) — A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, officials said Thursday.

In a statement, Turkey’s defense ministry said the explosion occurred at a depot under the Turkish army’s munitions command 6 kilometers (4 miles) east of the port town of Kyrenia at 1:30 a.m. Thursday (1030 GMT Wednesday) and that there were no major injuries as a result of the blast.

Earlier reports suggested that an undetected fire that broke out in the area had triggered the explosion.

Investigators have already launched a probe to determine the blast’s exact cause, the ministry said.

Fire is seen from an explosion at an army’s munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, early Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Nedim Enginsoy)

A series of powerful explosions followed the initial blast, video posted on social media showed, causing some bystanders watching the blast to scatter in fear. In one video, shattering glass can be heard following a loud blast as the young woman shooting it screams and runs away from the window.

Ersin Tatar, prime minister of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the ethnically divided nation, told reporters that nine of 12 individuals who suffered minor injuries were treated and released from hospital. The other three remain in hospital for observation.

Tatar said soldiers at the depot managed to flee the explosion without suffering any injuries. He said the blast and fire affected an area of roughly 0.2 square kilometers. He said authorities would carefully examine the safety of military installations that are close to residential areas.

Kudret Ozersay, the foreign minister, earlier said on Facebook that electricity has been cut in the vicinity of the blast while nearby homes had been evacuated.

Guests of a hotel stand outside after an early morning explosion from an army’s munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia, in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Turkish Cypriot media reported that some tourists staying at the nearby Acapulco hotel were treated for minor injuries. The blast spread unexploded ordnance over a wide area and officials urged caution.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and keeps more than 35,000 troops in the north.

In July, Turkish Cypriot officials said that a Syrian, Russian-made S-200 anti-aircraft missile that missed its target and reached Cyprus around 120 miles away was the likely cause of an explosion outside a village in the breakaway north.

Damaged rooms of a hotel after an explosion at an army’s munitions depot near coastal city of Kyrenia in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, Turkey’s defense ministry and Turkish Cypriot officials said. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Guest of a hotel wait outside after an early morning explosion from an army’s munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia, in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, Turkey’s defense ministry and Turkish Cypriot officials said. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Guests exit a hotel after an early morning explosion from an army’s munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia, in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, Turkey’s defense ministry and Turkish Cypriot officials said. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A worker on a balcony cleans up the debris after an explosion at an army’s munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, Turkey’s defense ministry and Turkish Cypriot officials said. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Guests of a hotel stand outside after an early morning explosion from an army’s munitions depot near the coastal city of Kyrenia, in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, Turkey’s defense ministry and Turkish Cypriot officials said. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Guests of a hotel stand outside after an early morning explosion from an army’s munitions depot, near the coastal city of Kyrenia, in the Turkish occupied area at northern Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. A pre-dawn explosion at an army munitions depot in breakaway northern Cyprus shattered window panes and slightly injured 12 people while fires ignited by the blast were brought under control, Turkey’s defense ministry and Turkish Cypriot officials said. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)