Smoke rising from Evin Prison in Tehran
Smoke rising from Evin Prison in TehranReuters

A blaze at the notorious Evin Prison, which houses political prisoners and anti-government activists in Iran's capital, killed four inmates, the country's judiciary said Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

Flames and thick smoke rising from the prison in Tehran were widely visible Saturday evening, and online videos featured gunshots and explosions heard in the area of the prison.

The blaze was extinguished after several hours and no detainees escaped, state media said.

State media originally reported nine people were injured but the judiciary-affiliated website on Sunday said four inmates died of smoke inhalation and 61 others were injured.

It said all four who died were in prison on robbery convictions.

Ten inmates were hospitalized, with four of them in serious condition, Mizan reported. It said some prisoners had tried to escape but failed.

State TV on Sunday aired a video purporting to show the fire's aftermath of scorched walls and ceilings in a room it said was the upper floor of a sewing workshop at the prison, according to AP.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday that there were clashes between prisoners in one ward and prison personnel, citing a senior security official. The official said “rioters” set fire to a warehouse full of prison uniforms, which caused the blaze.

The fire at the prison came as protests across Iran continue following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in police custody after she was arrested by the morality police for wearing her hijab improperly.

Authorities have attempted to distance the events at the prison from the ongoing protests. The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly of protesters but also members of the security forces.

Human rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed in the crackdown nationwide, including teenage girls whose deaths have become a rallying cry for more demonstrations demanding the downfall of the Islamic Republic.

Iran has blamed the violence on enemies at home and abroad, including armed separatists and Western powers, accusing them of conspiring against the Islamic Republic and denying security forces have killed protesters.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)