An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has struck Iraq, about 20 miles (32km) southwest of the city of Halabjah, near to the Iraq-Iran border, the US Geological Survey has said.

Over the border in Iran, the country’s seismological centre said a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Azgaleh.

Iranian state television that the earthquake had been felt in a number of cities in the country and had damaged eight villages, including knocking out electricity in a number of those villages.

“The quake was felt in several Iranian provinces bordering Iraq … Eight villages were damaged … Electricity has been cut in some villages and rescue teams have been dispatched to those areas,” state TV reported.

An official from the Iraqi Meteorology department said that the earthquake could be felt across large parts of Iraq, including the capital Baghdad – but put the magnitude at around 6.5.

Water and electricity lines were severed in some villages and cities in the Western Kermanshah province and communities stayed out on the streets because of the threat from aftershocks, a local Red Crescent official told state TV. “So far no casualties have been reported,” the official said.

Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud bricks, which have been known to crumble easily in quake-prone Iran.

The USGS issued an “orange” alert for “shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.”

Iranian provinces in the northwestern, western and central areas of the country were impacted. 

Iranian social media was abuzz with area people evacuating their homes.

Independent

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