13 dead as strong earthquake hits Iran-Iraq border

2017-11-12 23:09
Earthquake monitor. (File, iStock)

Earthquake monitor. (File, iStock)

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Sulaimaniyah - A strong earthquake that shook the Iran-Iraq border region on Sunday killed at least 13 people, authorities and state media in the two countries said.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.3 temblor was centred 30 kilometres southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran.

In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150.

"Four people were killed by the earthquake" in Darbandikhan, the town's mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan told AFP.

Another two people were killed in Kalar, according to the director of the hospital in the town about 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of Darbandikhan.

Seven dead in Iran

Iranian state media reported seven people had died in the quake.

"According to the latest toll, six people were killed in Qasr-e Shirin and one in Azgaleh," Kermanshah province governor Houshang Bazvand told the ISNA news agency.

State television had previously reported six dead in Qasr-e Shirin, close to the Iraqi border, around 40 kilometres southwest of Azgaleh.

Both agencies reported 25 people had been wounded.

The quake struck the mountainous area of Sulaimaniyah province at 18:18 GMT at a depth of 25 kilometres, the monitor said.

It was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and sometimes for longer in other provinces of Iraq, AFP journalists said.

In the province of Sulaimaniyah, located in Iraq's Kurdistan region, residents ran out onto the streets at the time of the quake and some minor property damage was recorded, an AFP reporter said.

In Iran, ISNA said the earthquake was felt in several cities in the west of the country including Tabriz.

In southeastern Turkey, the earthquake was felt "from Malatya to Van", an AFP correspondent said. In the town of Diyarbakir, residents also left their homes before returning.

The quake took place along a 1 500 kilometre fault line between the Arabia and Eurasia tectonic plates, a belt extending through western Iran and into northeastern Iraq, the US Geological Survey said.

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake near Iran's border with Turkmenistan in May killed two people, injured hundreds and caused widespread damage, state media reported.

The last major earthquake to strike Iran was a 2003 tremor in Bam, in the southeastern province of Kerman, which killed at least 31 000 people and flattened the city.

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