Several people have been killed and dozens were reported injured in a 5.9-magnitude quake that struck Iran some 60km (35 miles) from the town of Hastrud in East Azerbaijan Province.
The tremor hit the northwestern Iranian province at a shallow depth of about 10km early on Friday morning, local time, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
There have been conflicting reports as to how deep the quake actually was, however. The Iranian Seismological Center (IRSC) said that the seismic event occurred at a depth of only 2km.
At least five people died as a result of the quake, and about 120 have been injured, AP reported, citing a local emergency official who appeared on state TV.
Local emergency services said that the jolts that rattled the area destroyed several houses, as reported by the semi-official IRNA news agency. At least three villages near Mianeh, the most populous city in the province, have been badly damaged, Press TV reported, citing officials.
The shaking reportedly sparked panic among the locals, who rushed onto the streets, fleeing their houses.
The USGS predicted that the quake is likely to result in “significant casualties,” and that the disaster is “potentially widespread.”
East Azerbaijan Province, which borders Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, is home to around four million people.
Back in August 2012, over 300 were killed and more than 3,000 injured after twin earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.2 rocked the province, leaving behind a trail of destruction.
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