Home / Middle East / Jordan blast explained without recourse to sabotage
epa05849341 Jordanian soldiers on top of military vehicles keep watch near the informal Rugban refugee camp at the Jordan-Syria border point of Al-Rugban area, northeast of Jordan, 14 March 2017 (issued 15 March 2017). The remote area of Al-Rugban near the extreme northeast of Jordan received Syrians fleeing from the war in the neighboring country, becoming a de facto camp. However, Jordan sealed the border point in 2016 following a cross-border jihadist attack that killed seven Jordanian border guards in June 2016. According to estimates, the area was hosting over 70,000 Syrians in 2016 living in harsh conditions that raised criticism from rights groups. EPA/JAMAL NASRALLAH

Jordan blast explained without recourse to sabotage

Out-of-date mortar ammunition was the source of a huge blast at a Jordanian military installation on Friday, officials have revealed.

The early morning explosion at the remote mountain depot outside the industrial city of Zarqa was reportedly heard 30 km away.

A Jordanian military spokesman told the official news agency Petra that the blast happened in an area that was uninhibited. There were no reports of any injuries.

“The explosion took place in the Tafeh area due to outdated mortars that were being dismantled in an area void of any population,” he said.

Maamoun Abu Nuwwar, a retired two-star air force general, told Arab News that the Jordanian army had acted quickly to close off the area.

Retired Maj. Gen. Imad Mayyah, who in the past has supervised the dismantling of landmines, said the mortars had been stored correctly. “It is known that they should be stored underground or deep in mountain areas far away from populated areas.”

Mayyah added that high temperatures could have contributed to the detonation and called for immediate safety checks to be carried out on other items of stored ordnance.

Amjad Adaileh, the Jordanian minister of media affairs, had originally said the explosion had been caused by an electrical fault but later on Friday official army spokesman, Talal Al-Ghaban, told Al-Mamlaka TV that there had been no electricity supply to the warehouse where the blast took place.

While the incident attracted live international media coverage, Jordan’s TV stations were criticized for not running real-time images of the fire.

Nidal Mansour, founder of the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, told Arab News that reporters had a responsibility to keep the public informed.

“The media should not be silent and must report what they are sure of. The government must give an initial report of what happened. They can say an explosion occurred without having known the cause of it,” Mansour said.

Source: Arab News

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