World Bulletin / News Desk
An earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale rocked northern Iraq and Iran, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Sunday evening.
At least 211 people have died and 2,504 others were injured in Iran's western border regions, especially in Kermanshah province, state news agency IRNA reported, citing local officials.
The epicenter of the quake was located around 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the city of Halabja, near the Iranian border, and 103 kilometers (64 miles) southeast of the city of Sulaymaniyah, at a depth of 33 kilometers, and hit at 9:18 p.m. local time (1818GMT), said the U.S. Geological Survey.
“It’s with deep sorrow that I've received tragic news of an #earthquake, resulting in death & injury of our dear countrymen, causing much damage,” Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he appointed Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri to mobilize resources to help earthquake victims.
Kermanshah governor’s office said there will be three days of mourning in the province.
Kermanshah’s deputy governor earlier announced the death toll was 129 with around 1,000 injured, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Initially, six people were pronounced dead in the border town of Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah, according to IRNA and Fars.
According to Iraqi media, the earthquake damaged buildings in certain areas of Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah.
A local health official of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) area initially said at least 50 people had been injured.
The quake was followed by a dozen aftershocks ranging from 3.1 to 4.1 in magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It damaged telephone cables, Internet connections and power lines throughout various towns and villages.
The quake also destroyed a number of buildings in rural areas and caused cracks in the walls of villages and towns some 122km (76 miles) west of Kermanshah city, Fars reported.
The earthquake was also felt in Turkey's southeastern and eastern regions, including Diyarbakir, Batman, Mardin, Hakkari, Van, Mus and Sirnak provinces.
It was also felt as far away as Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan.