Authorities say the explosions occurred at a military warehouse where ”unuseable’ mortar bombs were being dismantled.
A series of massive explosions rocked the Jordanian city of Zarqa early on Friday, but there were no initial reports of casualties and authorities said the blasts were probably caused by an electrical short circuit at a nearby military munitions depot.
Huge orange flames lit the desert night sky after the explosions sparked a large fire east of Jordan’s second-largest city.
The flames could be seen as far away as the capital, Amman, 35km (22 miles) to the southwest.
Amjad Adailah, spokesman for Jordan’s government, said the blasts occurred “in a warehouse containing unuseable mortar bombs belonging to the armed forces”.
No injuries have been recorded so far, he said, adding that initial investigations show “the explosion was caused by an electric circuit in army ammunition depots that are in an isolated and unpopulated area and under camera surveillance”.
However, an army source told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity that some of the weapons at the site were precision-guided anti-aircraft missiles.
Jordan’s army acknowledged that there had been an explosion “in one of the ammunition depots which is being dismantled near the city of Zarqa”.
It added in a statement that “a committee has been set up to determine the causes of the explosion”.
The desert area where the explosions took place houses several major US-equipped army bases including an airfield built in 2018.
Following the explosions, security forces sealed off Zarqa, a sprawling industrial city of 1.5 million people, and prevented traffic from leaving or entering.
Journalists wanting to travel through Zarqa to the blast site about 10km (6.2 miles) to the east were prevented from doing so.
“We felt like an earthquake had struck. Our windows shook and glass shattered. My kids started crying,” Zarqa resident Nabila Issa told Media.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan on Tuesday urged Israel to abandon plans to begin annexing settlements in the West Bank, warning such action could have “consequences” for relations.
“We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process,” the ministers said in a statement after a joint video conference.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date when it could begin to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.
The move was endorsed by a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.
Netanyahu’s office made no announcement on July 1 as expected, but said talks were continuing with US officials and Israeli security chiefs.
“We would not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict,” the ministers warned in the statement issued by the German foreign ministry.
“We also concur that such a step would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region, and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts aimed at achieving a comprehensive and just peace,” they said.
“It could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel,” they added, underlining their commitment to a two-state solution based on international law.
The EU has in recent weeks mounted a diplomatic campaign against annexation, highlighted by a visit to Jerusalem by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to raise a concern about the prospective plans.
But the bloc cannot threaten Israel with formal sanctions without unanimous support among members.
After occupying the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel began establishing a network of settlements the following decade. Construction continues to this day.
Despite being viewed as illegal under international law, the settler population has jumped by 50 percent over the past decade.