Workers at a hotel in Cyprus assess the damage after a military depot exploded nearby. AFP
Multiple explosions at a Turkish military base in northern Cyprus damaged a hotel in a neighbouring holiday resort early on Thursday, prompting the evacuation of terrified tourists, officials said.
Fire broke out in the arms depot at the base in Catalkoy, west of the town of Kyrenia, without causing any casualties, police said.
The nearby Acapulco Hotel was damaged in the explosions, which began around 1:30 am (2230 GMT Wednesday) and continued until 5am.
Panicked hotel residents were evacuated to a safe area.
It was not immediately clear what triggered the blasts. Officials said they had launched an investigation.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci visited the hotel.
"What matters is nobody was harmed, we can handle the rest," he said.
Emergency services in Kyrenia said the fire had been contained by early morning.
The Kyrenia area on the north coast of Cyprus lies within the breakaway state which Turkish Cypriot leaders declared in 1983 but which remains recognised only by Ankara.
The island has been divided on ethnic lines since Turkish troops occupied its northern third in 1974 following a Greek Cypriot coup sponsored by the military junta then in power in Athens seeking union with Greece.
Turkey continues to maintain a sizeable military presence in the north of the island.Agence France-Presse
The European Union will put on hold high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations on an air transport agreement, as well as freeze funding for Turkey next year, over “illegal” drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus,
Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it rejected statements by Greek and European Union officials that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate and said the EU could
EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed measures including cutting 145.8 million euros ($164 million) in pre-accession financial funds to Turkey allocated for 2020.
It is believed that the fire brigade arrived at the scene within 6 minutes after the operations room was alerted about a fire in the mall.
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