Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Iraq-Iran Border

USGSThe earthquake struck close to Iraq's eastern border with Iran

The US Geological Survey said on its website that the magnitude 7.3 quake struck 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest of Halabjah at 9:18 pm (1818 GMT).

The last major natural disaster to hit the region was in 1927 - a 6.2-magnitude tremor that killed 500 people and injured another 700.

"The quake was felt in several Iranian provinces bordering Iraq".

The quake struck in northeast Iraq - near the border with Iran.

Iraq's Meteorological Organization issued a warning on state TV urging people to stay away from buildings and to avoid from using elevators, CNN reported.

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There were 38 tourists on boat belonging to a private operator and coming to Pavitra Sangam at Ibrahimpatnam from Bhavani Island. A helpline with toll free number 18004250101 was opened to help the relatives of the victims to get the information.

The temblor was centred 32km southwest of Halabja, Iraq, near the northeastern border with Iran, the US Geological Survey said.

It was so strong that it was felt in various cities in Western Iran and even Tehran, and also in the neighbouring countries, particularly Kuwait. A magnitude 6.6 devastated the historic city of Bam in 2003, killing about 26,000 people.

A Rudaw TV news anchor interviewed a guest in the Kurdish city of Sulaimani in northeastern Iraq when the studio was hit by the quake.

Iran's semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency says at least 14 Iranian provinces were affected.

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