Eleven babies, 107 women and 28 staff were rescued in the blaze that killed the eight newborns in the maternity wing of a hospital in the city of Oued Souf.

In this January 19, 2013 file photo, Algerian special police unit officers guard the entrance of a hospital in Ain Amenas.
In this January 19, 2013 file photo, Algerian special police unit officers guard the entrance of a hospital in Ain Amenas. (AP)

Eight babies were killed when a fire ripped through the maternity unit at a hospital in eastern Algeria before dawn on Tuesday, emergency services said.

"We managed to rescue 11 babies, 107 women and 28 staff" after the 3:50 am (0250 GMT) fire in the hospital in Oued Souf, 500 kilometres (300 miles) southeast of Algiers, spokesman Captain Nassim Bernaoui said.

"Unfortunately we regret the deaths of eight babies, some from burns and others from smoke inhalation."

Dozens of fire engines were deployed to bring the blaze under control.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, Bernaoui said.

Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui ordered an enquiry and sent Health Minister Mohamed Miraoui to the site of the fire.

Source: AFP