At least 61 dead, more than 300 hurt in Iran-Iraq quake

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

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

The quake was felt in several Iranian cities, damaging 8 villages and causing electricity cut-offs in some areas, Reuters said.

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The semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency reported that at least 14 provinces had been impacted by the quake.

At least six people were killed in the western Iranian town of Qasr-e Shirin, Iran television said.

The quake was even felt in the Iranian capital Tehran. In 2003, a 6.6 magnitude flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

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The quake on Sunday measured 6.5 magnitude, the official said according to preliminary results. There was extensive structural damage to buildings and homes.

The quake's epicentre was in Penjwin in the north-western Sulaimaniyah province within the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region very close to the Iranian border, according to an Iraqi meteorology official. Eventually, the rumble made its way to Irbil, where the anchor left his chair for safety.

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