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Saudi prison fire kills 67 inmates

Relatives of prisoners and staff wait outside the Ha'ir jail.
Relatives of prisoners and staff wait outside the Ha'ir jail.

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(CNN) -- Saudi officials are investigating a fire at a maximum security prison in Riyadh that has killed 67 inmates.

The blaze swept through Monday afternoon at Ha'ir prison, located within the city limits of the capital Riyadh.

Twenty inmates and three guards were also reported injured.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but the Saudi Press Agency says the country's Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz has appointed a committee to investigate.

Khaled Al Maeena, chief editor of the Arab News, said little information was available.

"It's a major incident," he told CNN. "We've never had any prison fire before of this magnitude."

The maximum-security facility houses several hundred inmates, said Raid Qusti, Riyadh bureau chief for the Arab News.


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