Huge blast at Jordanian military arms depot

No injuries reported after explosion at warehouse storing 'unstable mortar bombs'

This images taken and received from Twitter user @saleh_monther early on September 11, 2020 shows an explosion at a military numitions depot in the city of Zarqa, 25 kilometres (15 miles) east of the capital Amman. The huge blast rocked a Jordanian military munitions depot early on September 11 sparking a large fire, but there were no reports of casualties at the base situated in an uninhabited area. - -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / @saleh_monther" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS  - NO ARCHIVES
 / AFP / @saleh_monther / Handout / -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / @saleh_monther" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS  - NO ARCHIVES
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A huge blast rocked a Jordanian military munitions depot early on Friday, sparking a large fire. There were no reports of casualties at the base situated in an uninhabited area.

"An explosion occurred in the early hours of Friday ... in a warehouse containing unusable mortar bombs belonging to the armed forces," the government spokesman said in a statement.

The blast happened in the city of Zarqa, 25 kilometres east of the capital Amman, where several Jordanian bases and depots are located.

Images shared on social media showed a huge ball of flame rising into the night sky, followed by the sound of several explosions.

Government spokesman Amjad Adaileh said that "so far no injuries have been recorded".

An ambulance heads towards the city of Zarqa at the highway between Jordanian capital of Amman and Zarqa, after of large explosions at a Jordanian army base outside Zarqa on the northeastern edge of Amman, Jordan, September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
An ambulance heads towards the city of Zarqa from the Jordanian capital Amman after a large explosion at an army base outside Zarqa on September 11, 2020. Reuters

An initial investigation had determined that "the explosion was caused by an electrical short circuit in warehouses situated in an isolated and uninhabited area" which was under camera surveillance.

The army, which swiftly closed off the area, acknowledged that there had been an explosion "in one of the ammunition depots which is being dismantled near the city of Zarqa".

It added in a statement that "a committee has been set up to determine the causes of the explosion".

Zarqa governorate, which has a population of about 1.5 million people, has witnessed several explosions in past years, mainly caused by old munitions and fires in warehouses as it is also home to many factories and a free trade area.

The explosion comes only days after the kingdom announced it was reinstating military service for unemployed men between the ages of 25 to 29.

Jordan abolished compulsory military service in 1991, three years before signing a peace accord with neighbouring Israel.

But the country and its 10 million people, ruled by King Abdullah II, have been hit hard by restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Unemployment rose to 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, according to official figures, up from 19 per cent for the same period last year.