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Fire kills 11 in Saudi Aramco compound

Hundreds more injured when a fire broke out at a residential complex
Saudi Aramco is the world's largest oil company in terms of crude production and exports (AFP)

At least 11 people were killed and 219 injured in Saudi Arabia on Sunday when a fire broke out at a residential complex housing employees of oil giant Saudi Aramco, authorities said.

Saudi's civil defence ministry tweeted: "Cars and furniture caught fire in the basement of one of the towers, heavy smoke billowed, obstructing rescue and firefighting operations."

The ministry added that the casualties were from "various nationalities," without giving details.

Acting president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said, “we are deeply saddened to learn of the fatalities and injuries which resulted from the fire. Saudi Aramco is fully committed to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and their families.”

Authorities said that residents of nearby towers were evacuated.

Footage posted online showed helicopters hovering over the site. Other pictures displayed firefighters on ladders entering the building. 

Firefighting teams "are combing all towers to ensure there are no people" trapped inside, said the ministry.  

"The incident is currently under control and cooling operations are ongoing," it said in another tweet.

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, released a statement confirming the fire, adding that the incident is currently being investigated.

The company employs more than 61,000 workers worldwide from 77 countries.

According to the company's website, the place where the fire began is a complex with 486 units.