A powerful explosion at an army depot near Tirana today injured more than 150 people, including many children, and damaged the city's nearby international airport, authorities said.
The blast set off ammunition stored at the army depot, and explosions continued for at least two hours. The explosion prompted authorities to suspend flights for at least 30 minutes at Mother Teresa Tirana International Airport.
Health Minister Nard Ndoka said at least 155 people, including many children, had suffered injuries. Police spokesman Klodian Branko said no fatalities had been confirmed.
The depot, which is used as a location to destroy excess ammunition, is at Gerdec village, some six miles north of the capital Tirana. The blast was heard more than 50 kilometers (30 miles away), and people fled from nearby villages.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha described the situation as "serious", adding that the area near the depot was being evacuated, his spokeswoman Juela Mecani said.
"It is an alarming situation," Mecani said.
Police said that the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, but that it was not believed to have been caused by a bombing.
Houses more than half a mile away were damaged by the blast, an Associated Press photographer at the scene said.
The nearby area had no power supply following the explosion
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