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4 killed as 7.2 magnitude quake rocks Iraq

Baghdad, Nov 13 (IANS) An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hit has Iraq’s Sulaimaniyah province, killing four persons and injuring 50 others, the media reported.

The epicentre of the earthquake on Sunday was 32 km southwest of the Halabja area near the Iranian border at the depth of 33.9 km, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Xinhua news agency reported.

The earthquake was felt in many Iraqi provinces in the north and central regions, including the Iraqi capital Baghdad, witnesses said.

Most casualties occurred in the town of Darbandikhan, around 35 km from the city of Sulaimaniyah.

The casualties in Darbandikhan could rise as some houses have collapsed and it is not clear yet whether there were people buried under the debris, Nasih Mala Hassan, Mayor of Darbandikhan, was quoted as saying.

Iraqi Minister of Water Resources warned the people down the Darbandikhan Dam to be in highest alert as the condition of the dam is not clear.

In Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, dozens of people were taken to hospitals. Some were treated from injuries and others fainted or shocked, said the online newsite.

Many of the injured in Erbil were students who live in dormitories, the health department was quoted as saying.

Saad Maan, spokesman of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, told reporters that cracks appeared in some buildings in central Baghdad, while an old house was seriously damaged.

In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, five people were wounded in the city of Khanaqin, some 165 km from Baghdad, due to the collapse of their houses and shops, Head of the City Hall Samir Mohammed Noor told Xinhua.

Faris al-Azzawi, head of Diyala’s provincial health department, told Xinhua that at least 140 people fainted due to the earthquake and were sent to hospital, but no casualties were reported so far from the collapse of some houses and buildings.

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