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Jordan blast: City of Zarqa rocked by explosion

Jordan's minister of media affairs says explosion at an isolated weapons warehouse on the city's outskirts caused by an electrical short circuit
Residents in Zarqa said windows of homes were shattered and large flames could be seen.
Residents in Zarqa said windows of homes were shattered and large flames could be seen (Screengrab/Twitter)

A large explosion rocked the city of Zarqa in Jordan, northeast of the country's capital Amman, in the early hours of Friday.

A security source told Reuters that the blast came from a series of explosions at a Jordanian army base on the outskirts of the city, with videos circulating on social media showing a ball of fire rising into the night sky, followed by a mushroom cloud of smoke.

Residents in Zarqa said windows of homes were shattered in parts of of the city, where large flames could be seen.

Jordan's state news agency said the explosions were in the Ghabawi area, east of Zarqa city.

Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said the explosion took place at a warehouse of unusable mortar bombs in an "isolated and uninhabited area", and that the blast was caused by an electrical short circuit.

"According to the Army General Command, until this moment, no casualties have been recorded as a result of the explosion," Adaileh said in a statement.

Later, the military said in a statement that preliminary findings indicated "the explosion was due to high temperatures provoking a chemical reaction in a shell".   

Jordan has over the past week seen temperatures soaring above 48 degrees Celsius in some regions.

The area around the explosion had been "completely combed to ensure that there is no further danger, and the situation is under control", General Imad al-Khamaysseh told state television.  

The late night explosion had initially drawn comparisons on social media to the Beirut blast in August, which killed about 190 people, injured 6,000 more and devastated whole neighbourhoods in the Lebanese capital.

Earlier on Thursday, a fire broke out at Beirut's port at an oil and tyre warehouse and reached a warehouse containing critical food aid. Residents spoke of growing panic in the city at the sight of the fire, bringing back memories of the 4 August blast.