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Explosion at coalition base in Qatar

There are reports of an explosion at the US and UK military base in Qatar.

The centre is the headquarters of US General Tommy Franks who is running the campaign against Iraq.

The blast was heard outside the base and its cause is not yet clear.

Spokesman Lt Mark Kitchens said officials were investigating and it appeared to have come from the front gate area.

"We heard a loud bang, we don't know the cause at this time and we're investigating," he said.

The base is also home to the media centre where hundreds of journalists are based and from where daily briefings are being broadcast.

Central Command is located about 12 miles south of Qatar's capital Doha, in an industrial but barren zone in the desert.

Security around the 262-acre wire-rimmed base is heavy, and parts of the road in front of the front gate are closed to commercial traffic.

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