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News

Fatal apparent accident at Turkish ammunition depot

Turkey's military has announced an explosion at a munitions depot in the west of the country; 25 soldiers were killed in the blast. Authorities said it appeared to be an accident and ruled out attack or sabotage.

Twenty-five soldiers were killed and a further four injured in the explosion in the Afyonkarahisar province in western Turkey on Wednesday evening. The Turkish military confirmed the blast in a statement posted on its website, saying that it was most probably an accident.

The explosion took place at a section of the military ammunition site where hand grenades were stored.

A government minister appeared on television, saying the blast was probably not the result of an attack or sabotage by groups like the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

"This is most probably an accident," Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu said in a televised interview. "This is certainly not an act of terrorism."

Erogul also said that people should not approach the blast site, because of the probability that hand grenades and other munitions were scattered in the explosion. Local media said initial investigations suggested that a mistake was made handling the grenades.

The fire that followed the explosion was under control by Thursday morning, according to the authorities.

The affected western region of Turkey is well clear of the conflict zone in southeastern Turkey where the country's military is fighting Kurdish rebels seeking an independent state.

msh/sej (AFP, dpa, Reuters)