Cyprus president apologizes over fatal blast

Faced with growing public protest, Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias apologized on Friday for a deadly blast at a navy base near Limassol on Monday that killed 13 people, injured more than 60 and seriously damaged the island?s main power plant as well as hundreds of homes.

?The government?s and the president?s apologies should be considered a given, and they are a given,? Christofias told reporters.

He also pledged ?absolute accountability? in an investigation into the cause of the explosion of large quantities of seized ammunition and explosives. Christofias has faced harsh criticism from the press and the public for not apologizing earlier, while some 10,000 people gathered outside the presidential palace on Thursday, demanding his resignation.