At least 19 die as huge explosion tears through buildings in Iranian capital Tehran 

At least nineteen 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.

It was initially reported that ten women and three men had died in the explosion at the Sina At’har health centre by Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said on TV, but that number has since risen.

Ali al-Qasi Mehr, prosecutor of Greater Tehran, announced the death toll from the explosion and subsequent fire, saying that 15 women and four men had been killed.

Pictured: Footage of a powerful explosion at a clinic in northern Tehran. The blast at Sina At’har health centre caused damage to buildings in the vicinity and sent a plume of thick black smoke into the night sky, state television reported, June 30, 2020

He went on to say that the origin of the explosion was three oxygen canisters in the operating room of the clinic. 

‘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 earlier.

In addition to the 19 deaths the initial statement said that ‘six [people] have also been injured and transferred’ to a hospital,’ the service added. Firefighters were reportedly able to save 20 people. 

Pictured: Fire and smoke rise from the building, shown in footage recorded from a near-by building of the explosion in Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: Fire and smoke rise from the building, shown in footage recorded from a near-by building of the explosion in Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Left: Fire and smoke rise from the building, shown in footage recorded from a near-by building of the explosion in Tehran on June 30, 2020. Right: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At’har health centre in the north of Iran’s capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

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.

Maleki is reported to have been the one to confirm that the number of deaths had risen to 19, and was quoted as saying the firefighters had recovered six more bodies after the fire was extinguished.  

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. 

Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei clad in a face mask as a protective measure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, while seated beneath a picture of his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during a meeting in the capital Tehran, June 30

Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei clad in a face mask as a protective measure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, while seated beneath a picture of his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during a meeting in the capital Tehran, June 30

Pictured: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei clad in a face mask as a protective measure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, while seated beneath a picture of his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during a meeting in the capital Tehran, June 30

Pictured: First responders carry away an injured person on a stretcher at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders carry away an injured person on a stretcher at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders carry away an injured person on a stretcher at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At’har health centre in the north of Iran’s capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

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.

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At’har health centre in the north of Iran’s capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: Firefighters could be seen in a video climbing a ladder to reach the roof of the building

Pictured: Firefighters could be seen in a video climbing a ladder to reach the roof of the building

Pictured: Firefighters could be seen in a video climbing a ladder to reach the roof of the building

Pictured: Firefighters could be seen in a video climbing a ladder to reach the roof of the building

Pictured: Firefighters could be seen in a video climbing a ladder to reach the roof of the building

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At'har health centre in the north of Iran's capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Pictured: First responders gather at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At’har health centre in the north of Iran’s capital Tehran northern Tehran on June 30, 2020

Videos of the explosion were shared on Twitter. Some were taken at a distance over the rooftops of the city, showing the explosion at a distance, while other came from locals closer to the scene.

One video, taken from the street below the building, showed people at the window of the clinic, trapped and waving for help. 

In another video from the scene, firefighters could be seen climbing a ladder to reach the roof of the building to help tackle the flames and attempt to rescue those trapped inside. 

Pictured: Relatives of victims mourn at the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health center in the north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Relatives of victims mourn at the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health center in the north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Relatives of victims mourn at the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health center in the north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Relatives of the victims mourn around scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Relatives of the victims mourn around scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Relatives of the victims mourn around scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: An Iranian woman relative of a victim mourns around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: An Iranian woman relative of a victim mourns around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: An Iranian woman relative of a victim mourns around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: A rescue worker gets medical aid around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: A rescue worker gets medical aid around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: A rescue worker gets medical aid around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Iranian fire fighters work around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Iranian fire fighters work around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

Pictured: Iranian fire fighters work around the scene of an explosion at the Sina Athar health centre in north of Tehran, Iran, 30 June 2020

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.  

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