Cyprus holidaymakers staying at the Acapulco hotel in Kyrenia were evacuated this morning. The emergency evacuaion came as consecutive explosions and a fire occurred in a military zone nearby. The blasts took place just before 2am local time east of Kyrenia in Turkish occupied northern Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot media reports. Minor injuries were caused by glass blasted by the explosions – shocking images from the scene show the shattered glass doors at the Acapulco hotel.
Prime Minister Ersin Tatar urged people to remain calm. He visited the damaged hotel to reassure panicked tourists and inform them they would be safely taken to the airport if they had flights this morning.
He also told reporters that nine of 12 individuals who suffered minor injuries had been treated and released from hospital. The other three remain in hospital for observation.
The hotel guests gathered on the beach in front of the hotel after hearing the blasts.
Images from the scene also show holidaymakers waiting outside the building with their luggage in the streets.
Some people could be seen tearfully hugging one another following the incident.
Residents in the near the military depot opposite the Acapulco Hotel in Ayios Epiktitos were also evacuated and electricity in the region cut off as a precaution.
Fire broke out in the arms depot at the base in Catalkoy, west of the town of Kyrenia, without causing any casualties, police said.
The fire was put under control at around 7am, local media reported, and the cause of the blaze and explosions will be investigated today. It’s currently not clear which came first.
“An ammunition depot belonging to the Ammunition Division Command in Girne caused an explosion at 01:30 due to a yet undetermined reason,” Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on its Twitter account.
“A fire broke out in an arsenal within the military zone and there were consecutive explosions in the eastern part of Girne,” Kudret Özersay, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) added on Facebook.
President Mustafa Akıncı, who arrived at the scene along with Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and Özersay, told reporters: “It is pleasing that there was no loss of life in the explosions that occurred in an arsenal in the military zone in the eastern Girne.“
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have not yet updated their travel advice to Cyprus.
Terrorists attacks in the country are described as “can’t be ruled out,” said the FCO.
They add: “Around one million British nationals visit Cyprus every year. Most visits are trouble-free.”
In July, a stray Russian-built Syrian missile hit Cyprus narrowly missing the densely populated capital of Nicosia and crashing on a mountainside and sparking a fire.
Officials said the missile, believed to be a Russian-made S-200, could be a rogue strike which saw the missile veering off course after being launched in retaliation to an Israeli airstrike on Syria.
It marked the first time Cyprus has been caught in the crosshairs of the war in Syria. The incident could risk dragging the holiday hotspot into the conflict.