At least 71 killed, hundreds injured in earthquake near Iran-Iraq border

TEHRAN, Iran — At least 71 people were killed in western Iran and more than 1,000 others were injured when a powerful earthquake struck near the Iraqi border, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported early Monday.

The quake’s epicenter was about 50 miles south of the city of Halabja in a remote mountainous region of eastern Iraq, about 320 miles northeast of Baghdad and 640 miles west of Tehran, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Rescue teams were sent to the Iranian border town of Ghasre Shirin, which Iranian state media reported to have suffered great damage after the quake struck late Sunday, but their efforts were hampered by electricity outages.

The governor’s office said helicopters and sniffer dogs could not start working until first light. It was expected that more casualties would be found under the rubble.

Kurdish cities in Iraq such as Halabja, Erbil and Duhok were affected by the quake, Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported. Other media reports said it could be felt as far away as Kuwait and parts of Turkey.

Aid agencies said they were on standby to help. “Our humanitarian team in Iraq is monitoring today’s earthquake and is on standby to respond,” the International Rescue Committee said on Twitter.

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