Thirteen people were killed and six injured on Tuesday in an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran, Fars news agency reported, quoting a state official.
The blast was triggered by a gas leak, Tehran Deputy Governor Hamid Reza Goudarzi told state television.
Ten women and three men died in the explosion at the Sina At’har health centre, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said on TV.
‘An explosion was reported at 20:56 (16:26 GMT) followed by a fire at Sina At’har clinic. Medical units were dispatched immediately,’ the EMS said in a statement.
‘The death of 13 people has been confirmed. Six have also been injured and transferred’ to a hospital, the service added.
Ten of the casualties were women, Tehran’s police chief Hossein Rahimi told ISNA.
Tehran fire department spokesman Jalal Maleki told state TV that the explosion occurred as gas canisters caught fire in the clinic’s basement.
Some of the victims ‘were in upper floors in operation rooms, who were either patients being operated on or those with them,’ he said.
‘They, unfortunately, lost their lives due to the heat and thick smoke.’
The blaze was extinguished around two hours later.
Videos posted on social media appeared to show multiple explosions at the north Tehran site and firefighters using ladders to access the roof of the building.
Iran’s supreme leader – Ali Khamenei – is yet to make a statement.
A fire caused by the blast has been extinguished, Jalal Maleki, the Tehran Fire Department spokesman said on state TV.
Two adjacent buildings were also damaged by the explosion.
The clinic, which had 25 employees inside at the time of the blast, primarily carries out light surgeries and medical imaging, Harirchi said.
Last week, an explosion occurred close to a sensitive military site near Tehran which the defence ministry said was caused by a leaking tank at a gas storage facility. No deaths or injuries were reported.
The incident comes four days after an explosion near a military complex rocked the Iranian capital.
It took place in the Parchin area in the southeast of Tehran due to ‘leaking gas tanks’, Iran’s defence ministry said on Friday, adding there were no casualties.
Parchin is a site suspected of having hosted conventional explosion tests applicable to nuclear power, which the Islamic republic denies.
It had come under scrutiny from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in 2015.
Iran had refused the IAEA access to the site because of the nature of its work, but the agency’s then chief, the late Yukiya Amano, paid a visit there.