More than dead in Iran quake

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – A pow­er­ful earth­quake shook the Iran-Iraq bor­der late Sun­day, killing 207 peo­ple and in­jur­ing over 2,500 in the moun­tain­ous re­gion of Iran alone, Ira­nian me­dia re­ported.

The tem­blor killed at least seven peo­ple in Iraq and in­jured 321 there, all in the coun­try's north­ern, semi­au­tonomous Kur­dish re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Iraq's In­te­rior Min­istry.

The mag­ni­tude-7.3 quake was cen­tered 31 kilo­me­ters out­side the east­ern Iraqi city of Hal­abja, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent mea­sure­ments from the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey. It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilo­me­ters, a shal­low depth that can have broader dam­age. Mag­ni­tude 7 earth­quakes on their own are ca­pa­ble of wide­spread, heavy dam­age.

The quake was felt as far west as the Mediter­ranean coast. Its worst dam­age ap­peared to be in Iran's western Ker­man­shah prov­ince, which sits in the Za­gros Moun­tains that di­vide Iran and Iraq. Res­i­dents in the ru­ral area rely mainly on farm­ing to make a liv­ing.

Ira­nian so­cial me­dia and news agen­cies showed im­ages and videos of peo­ple flee­ing their homes into the night. More than 100 af­ter­shocks fol­lowed.

Iran's state-run tele­vi­sion re­ported the in­crease in fa­tal­i­ties early yes­ter­day and said res­cue work was con­tin­u­ing overnight and would ac­cel­er­ate dur­ing the day­time.

Iran's Health Min­istry put the num­ber of in­jured at more than 2,500, the semi-of­fi­cial ISNA news agency re­ported.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei of­fered his con­do­lences yes­ter­day morning and urged res­cuers and all gov­ern­ment agen­cies to do all they could to help those af­fected, state me­dia re­ported.

The semi-of­fi­cial ILNA news agency said at least 14 prov­inces in Iran had been af­fected by the earth­quake.

Of­fi­cials an­nounced that schools in Ker­man­shah and Ilam prov­inces would be closed yes­ter­day be­cause of the tem­blor.

In Iraq, Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi is­sued a di­rec­tive for the coun­try's civil de­fense teams and “re­lated in­sti­tu­tions” to re­spond to the nat­u­ral disaster.

Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, an In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman, gave the ca­su­alty fig­ures for Iraq.

The quake could be felt across Iraq, shak­ing build­ings and homes from Ir­bil to Bagh­dad, where peo­ple fled into the streets of the cap­i­tal.

The Iraqi city of Hal­abja, clos­est to the epi­cen­ter, is no­to­ri­ous for the 1988 chem­i­cal at­tack in which Sad­dam Hus­sein's regime killed some 5,000 peo­ple with mus­tard gas – the dead­li­est chem­i­cal weapons at­tack ever against civil­ians.

(Pouria Pakizeh/ISNA via AP)

A RES­CUE worker searches de­bris for sur­vivors with his sniff­ing dog af­ter an earth­quake in Sar­pol-eZa­hab, Iran.

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