Twelve people have been killed and about 30 injured in a blast at a munitions dump in southern Cyprus. The explosion, at 0600 (0300 GMT) is thought to have been caused by brushfires which spread to the depot in the naval base at Zygi. The island’s largest power station has been knocked out, resulting in widespread power cuts. The munitions depot contained explosives seized in 2009 from a ship travelling from Iran. There is no indication that the cause of the blast was deliberate, says the BBC’s Tabitha Morgan in Nicosia. State radio said the dead included two sailors from the Cyprus navy, two soldiers and five firefighters. Power cuts Two containers of explosive stored in the munitions dump at the Evangelos Florakis naval base caught fire, a police spokesman told the semi-official CNA news agency. In all, there were 98 containers in the depot. They had been seized from a Cypriot-flagged ship, the Monchegorsk, which was intercepted travelling from Iran in January 2009. Cyprus said the shipment violated UN sanctions on Iran. The fire spread to the nearby Vassilikou power station, causing widespread electricity cuts. It is the largest power station on the island. The fire has also had a knock-on effect on the BBC’s broadcasts to the eastern Mediterranean. Six of the eight transmitters in the BBC’s relay station at Zygi are without power, interrupting English-language broadcasts to the Middle East. ‘Total mess’ The blast was “rather like a sonic boom”, eyewitness Hermes Solomon told the BBC. He was staying in a caravan on a campsite not far from the base. “The doors crashed together, the glass blew in – windows, door frames, things left their shelves. It was a total mess inside, as though a bomb had hit the place.” State television said the blasts caused extensive damage to property in the area and sparked wildfires in nearby scrubland in the tinder-dry summer conditions. “We can’t assess the extent of the damage, but it’s a biblical disaster,” Costas Gavrielides, spokesman for the electricity authority, told Reuters.

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