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Cyprus

Cyprus marks deadly blast anniversary

A relative pays her respects at a monument constructed near the base

Cyprus is marking on Thursday the anniversary of the death of 13 sailors and firemen killed in a munitions blast at a naval base in 2011

The early morning blast on July 11, 2011, killed seven sailors and six firemen. It had been caused by munitions haphazardly stored at the Evangelos Florakis naval base for more than two years.

The munitions, stored in 98 containers, had been confiscated in 2009 from a Cyprus-flagged ship en route to Syria and were then stacked in an open space at the base and left exposed to the elements until the day of the explosion, despite repeated warnings about the risks.

As a result of the explosion and the shock wave that followed, the nearby Vassiliko power station, the island’s main source of electricity, sustained extensive damage that led to rolling power cuts for a month after the blast.

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