Arms depot blasts damage north Cyprus hotel, say officials

Workers at Acapulco hotel in Kyrenia in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus north of the divided Cypriot capital Nicosia, assess the damage after the building was damaged when a military depot exploded nearby, September 12, 2019. — AFP pic
Workers at Acapulco hotel in Kyrenia in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus north of the divided Cypriot capital Nicosia, assess the damage after the building was damaged when a military depot exploded nearby, September 12, 2019. — AFP pic

NICOSIA, Sept 12 — Multiple explosions at a Turkish military base in northern Cyprus damaged a hotel in a neighbouring holiday resort early today, 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 1.30am (2230 GMT yesterday) 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. — AFP

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