3 Dead in blast at military base in Spain

Almeria, Spain, May 20 (EFE).- Three people died and two others were injured Monday in an explosion at the Alvarez Sotomayor de Viator military base in the southern Spanish province of Almeria, authorities said.

The fatalities were identified as two warrant officers and a sergeant.

All three were experts in disarming bombs and had served on international missions in Bosnia, Lebanon and Afghanistan, among other locations, the military said.

They died in an explosion that originated near a mortar mounted on a BMR armored personnel carrier.

The blast occurred as the troops were returning from an exercise and the cause remains under investigation, Maj. Eleuterio Ciego told Efe.

One of the injured was taken to a hospital, while the other was treated at the infirmary on the base, which is home to the Sappers Unit of the Legion, an elite corps within the Spanish armed forces.

The main task of the Sappers Unit is to modify the terrain to facilitate the movement of combat forces, but the outfit also builds and maintains fortifications and provides communications infrastructure.