Iran border magnitude 7.3 natural disaster leaves at least 12 dead, scores hurt

Iran border magnitude 7.3 natural disaster leaves at least 12 dead, scores hurt

The United States Geological Survey reports a preliminary magnitude 7.2 natural disaster struck near Halabjah, Iraq on Sunday.

Like most quakes that strike the region, this one was shallow, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the USGS's National Earthquake Information Center.

Iranian social media was abuzz with area people evacuating their homes. At least eight villages have been damaged.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties. Faramarz Akbari, governor of the Iranian city of Ghasr-e Shirin, said that six people had died and scores more injured, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

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On its website, the USGS placed the quake's epicenter at about 19 miles south-southwest of the Iraqi city of Halabja.

Many residents in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad rushed out of houses and tall buildings in panic.

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

"I felt like I was on a boat, I thought it was vertigo".

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Several aftershocks also jolted the Iranian province of Kermanshah.

Extensive damage is seen in photos taken in the town of Darbandikhan in Iraq.

A total of 13 people were killed in Iran and Iraq, according to the latest official statements.

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