Erbil Security: Military depot explosion a 'technical issue,' not terrorism

The early Saturday morning blast at a Peshmerga munitions storage facility was due to a “technical issue,” Erbil security said, and not related to terrorism.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The early Saturday morning blast at a Peshmerga munitions storage facility was due to a “technical issue,” Erbil security said, and not related to terrorism.

The large military depot containing ammunition and some weapons exploded before sunrise in the province of Erbil. The blast took place at approximately 4:00 am in the town of Baharka, just outside the capital of the Kurdistan Region, the Director of Erbil Asayish (Security), Tariq Nouri, told Kurdistan 24.

“After we started to investigate the incident by watching the CCTV in the building, it showed nobody was behind the fire and the explosion,” Nouri said.

“The reason for the fire and explosion was the way the weapons and ammunition were stored," he specified. "[Proper] conditions and mechanisms for storing weapons and ammunition were not taken into consideration in that facility.”

He also mentioned that live electrical wires were not appropriately routed. “We believe the fire and the explosion was the result of a technical issue.”

When asked whether there was any suspicion that the incident could be an act of terrorism, he responded: “Not at all. We have no doubt that this was not a terroristic act.”

He mentioned that they [Asayish], as part of a province-wide security committee, had previously suggested building weapons and ammunition facilities next to military bases, far from highly-populated areas, as a safety precaution.

“There are no human casualties, and nobody has been arrested. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.”

It is the third explosion in recent memory taking place at weapons and ammunition storage sites in Erbil. In Aug. 2017, a Peshmerga storage facility near Erbil International Airport (EIA). Though the sound was heard in most of the neighborhoods of the city, there were also no human casualties.

In the same year, another Peshmerga weapons storage warehouse exploded in Erbil’s Newroz Street, and was blamed on summer temperatures. In that blast, three Peshmerga members were injured.

Editing by John J. Catherine

(Hoshmand Sadiq contributed to this report)