TEHRAN: An explosion set off by a fire that had spread to an ammunition depot at a military base in western Iran killed 18 members of the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, the state news agency reported on Wednesday. The IRNA news agency said 14 other Guard troops were wounded in the blast Tuesday in the city of Khoramabad, some 300 miles (500 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Tehran.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Khoramabad. The report said the blast was caused by a fire that had reached the ammunition storage area, but there was no word on what had ignited the blaze. In their first reports of the blast late Tuesday, most Iranian media said the explosion was an accident.
Although Khoramabad has not seen violence recently, it is geographically clïse to Kurdish-populated areas that have been the scene in recent months of several attacks by Kurds disgruntled with the central government.
Input from Agencies