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Saudi hospital fire kills 25, sparks criticism of local neglect

Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the fire, which killed 25 people and injured over 100 others
Fire brigades outside the Jizan General Hospital on Thursday (Saudi Civil Defense)

A fire ripped through a hospital in southern Saudi Arabia on Thursday, killing at least 25 people and injuring 107, authorities said.

The blaze reportedly broke out around 2:00 am (2300 GMT), engulfing the first floor which houses a nursery, an intensive care unit and the maternity department of the Jazan General Hospital, the country's civil defence agency tweeted.

An emergency doctor at the hospital told Al Jazeera that the majority of those injured in the fire were patients, who were transferred to other nearby public and private hospitals.

The blaze may have been caused by an electrical fire, Ahmad Alsum, a doctor at the hospital, told Al Jazeera.

In August, 10 people were killed and 259 wounded in a fire at a residential complex rented by oil giant Saudi Aramco in the kingdom's Eastern Province.

That fire was ignited by an electric short circuit in an underground car park, according to authorities.

Thursday's fire sparked a wave of criticism among social media users who complained that Jazan province, especially its hospitals, suffer from inadequate infrastructure.

"We must be frank. Jazan had been neglected by the state for decades," wrote a Twitter user named Ahmed.

"Maybe this catastrophe could put the spotlight on the disastrous situation of hospitals in Jazan... Even though we have little hope," wrote another user.

Others called for health minister Khalid al-Falih to be sacked.

Civilians in Jazan have also been victims of frequent missile attacks by Iran-supported Houthis in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the group and their allies since March.