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|January 16, 2018|
Iran-Iraq earthquake deadliest of the year
TEHRAN - At least 530 people have died in the deadliest earthquake of 2017. It struck the border region between Iraq and Iran late Sunday.
Thousands more people were injured in the M7.3 quake, which was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan. Some 145 aftershocks were reported, according to state-run network IRINN.
The death toll has overtaken September's Mexico City earthquake in which 369 people lost their lives.
The earthquake sparked panic, with residents fleeing their homes for the streets.
Mosques in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have been saying prayers through loudspeakers.
Many of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 10 miles from the border, Iran's emergency services chief, Pir Hossein Koolivand, said, according to Iranian state television channel IRINN.
Damage was reported in at least eight villages, the head of Iran's Red Crescent Organization, Morteza Salim, told the channel.
"Some other villages have suffered power cuts and their telecommunications system has also been disturbed," he said.
Rescue teams were being hampered by landslides, Mr Koolivand said.
The quake hit 19 miles southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The quake occurred at a depth of 21 miles, and tremors were felt in Turkey, Israel and Kuwait, the BBC reported.
Crossed by several major fault lines, Iran is one of the world's most seismically active countries.
In 2003, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam in southeastern Iran, killing some 26,000 people.
Story Date: November 14, 2017