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Huge blast rocks military base near Tehran

posted 12 Nov 2011, 05:18 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Nov 2011, 05:19 ]

Iranian channel Press TV announces an explosion at a military base west of Tehran.

TEHRAN, IRAN (NOVEMBER 12, 2011)  (PRESS TV) - A massive explosion at a weapons depot on a military base to the west of the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday (November 12) killed several people and was felt at least 45 km away, local media reported.

The Revolutionary Guards -- Iran's elite military force -- said a munitions store at a base in Bidganeh, near the city of Karaj, had exploded, according to a statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Fars said the explosion took place around noon on Saturday at an arsenal belonging to the Revolutionary Guards near Tehran.

Several people had been killed, Fars said, without giving further details.

"Up until now there's no word on what caused the explosion, but reports say it has left an unknown number of casualties," said a news reader on Iranian channel Press TV.

The blast was so big it was felt in western suburbs of Tehran, 45 km away, witnesses told Reuters. Many assumed there had been a low-level earthquake. Some media reports said the initial blast was followed by a second explosion.

There were no reports linking the blast to any air strike or other attack. Tension has risen in recent weeks between Iran and its enemies Israel and the United States, which have not ruled out striking nuclear facilities they believe are working towards making atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

On October 12 last year a similar blast at a Revolutionary Guards munitions store killed and wounded several servicemen in Khorramabad, western Iran. Authorities said that explosion was an accident.