At least five people were killed and 30 wounded in an explosion at a weapons warehouse in Yemen, a security official said on Tuesday.
A two-storey building collapsed in the blast and survivors were pulled from its ruins, a witness said, while nearby structures were also damaged.
The official, who did not want to be named, told AFP the weapons were being stored at the bottom of the building in Lawdar, a city known for its arms market in the southern province of Abyan.
The town is controlled by forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognised government.
Many of the wounded have critical injuries, medical officials told AP, adding that they fear the death toll could rise further. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to reporters.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion. The warehouse was used to store weapons and also explosives, both of which are commonly sold at the market in Lawdar.
Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government into exile. The following year, the Saudi-led coalition entered the war to fight the Houthis and try to restore the government to power.
Despite a relentless air campaign and ground fighting, the war has fallen largely into a stalemate, and spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Over the years of the conflict, the Arab world’s poorest country has also become awash with small arms that have been smuggled into poorly controlled ports. In May, at least five civilians were killed and 20 were wounded when a man dropped a hand grenade in a crowded fish market in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden.