Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hits western Iran, no fatalities reported: TV

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Sunday that no fatalities had been reported so far after an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck near its western border with Iraq, Iranian state TV reported.

The tremor was also felt in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and in Kuwait.

“No reports of any fatalities (have been reported) yet and most of the injured were hurt while fleeing, not due to quake damage,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency services, told state TV.

Fears of aftershocks sent people in several cities in the western province of Kermanshah out onto the streets and parks in cold weather, Iranian media reported.

Six rescue teams were immediately deployed to the quake-hit area and some 100 people had been slightly injured, Iranian TV said.

The quake also triggered landslides but officials said all the roads in the area remained open to traffic and electricity had been restored in most of the quake-hit areas.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake occurred at a depth of 65 km (40 miles) and struck 114 km northwest of the city of Ilam, close to Iran’s border with Iraq.

Iranian media said the quake was felt in at least seven provinces of Iran and was strongest in Kermanshah province, where last year over 600 people were killed and thousands injured in Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade.

Fifty people were injured in Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 km (10 miles) from the border, near the epicenter of the quake, and 50 in another town nearby, Houshang Bazvand, the governor of Kermanshah province, told state TV.

The Iraqi Geological Survey said the quake had been felt in Baghdad, where the interior ministry said no damage or casualties were reported, Erbil in the Kurdistan region, and other Iraqi provinces.

The quake was felt in some areas of Kuwait but no damage was reported, state news agency Kuna said.

“Fortunately, the quake was not near bigger cities. But it might have caused damage in villages and I hope not that many villages are located where it hit,” Ali Moradi, head of Iran’s seismology center, told state TV.

Iran sits astride major fault lines and is prone to frequent tremors. Last November, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit the Kermanshah province. In 2003, a quake of a magnitude of 6.6 in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the historic city of Bam.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom, Hesham Hajali in Cairo, Ahmed Rasheed in Iraq; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Catherine Evans

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