Iran-Iraq earthquake kills more than 140, injures at least 860, officials tell

More than 140 people were killed and at least 860 others were hurt in a powerful earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border region Sunday, Iranian officials disclosed.

The quake had a magnitude of 7.3, the U.S. Geological Survey( USGS) announced, as the reporting of serious structural damage started to emerge.

The Islamic Republic of Iran News Network quoted the head of the country’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, as saying more than 140 people had been killed and at the least 860 injured on Iran’s side of the border. Iranian state Tv also said Iraqi officials reported at the least six people dead inside Iraq, along with more than 50 people injured in Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 in Khanaquin city. No reports were immediately available from Iraq’s government.

On its website, the USGS placed the quake’s epicenter at about 18.6 miles southwest of the Iraqi city of Halabja.

The USGS also issued an “orange” alert for “shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.”

“Significant casualties and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread, ” the agency said online. “Past orange alerts have involved a regional or national level response.”

In Iraq, the quake destroyed old homes in Sadr City and triggered supermarket injury in the field. Traffic across Baghdad was slackened to a standstill.

The health department in Baquba, Iraq, said that it had received more than 30 fainting instances. In Khanaqin, the quake hurt five people and the minaret of one of the city’s biggest mosques toppled to the ground.

Koulivand earlier told a local television station that the earthquake knocked out electricity in Iran’s western the two cities of Mehran and Ilam. He also said 35 rescue teams were providing assistance. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a phone call with the Interior Ministry underlined the necessity of achieving maximum effort from officials.

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

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily earthquakes. In 2003, a magnitude-6. 6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

Fox News’ Kadhum Hussein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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