At least 25 students and teachers have been killed in a fire at a religious school in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, officials say.
The fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah broke out in the early hours of the morning.
“The number of confirmed dead are 23 students and two wardens,” Khirudin Drahman, director of the city’s fire and rescue department, told the AFP news agency.
Their ages were not immediately clear.
Such schools – where children study the Koran, usually as boarders – take children aged between five and 18.
The emergency official said the fire in the Jalan Datuk Keramat area could be “one of the country’s worst fire disasters in the past 20 years”.
Images posted by local media appeared to show the entire upper room of the school, where students would have been sleeping, ablaze.
Distressed parents could also be seen gathering outside.
A number of students were also reported to have been taken to hospital, some suffering from smoke inhalation.
Malaysian authorities have raised concerns about safety measures at unregulated private religious schools after a series of fires.
Local media report there have been more than 200 such fires since 2015.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has tweeted his sympathies to those affected. (Courtesy BBC)