Two strong earthquakes followed by several aftershocks jolted western Iran early today, killing at least 38 and injuring hundreds, state media reported.
The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 and struck Boroujerd and Doroud, two industrial cities in western Iran, at 1.05am local time Friday (11.35pm last night Irish time), state-run television reported.
The epicentre was in the mountainous villages south of Boroujerd and north of Doroud.
At least 10 aftershocks struck the mountainous region throughout the night but a bigger tremor with a magnitude of 6.0, hit Doroud and surrounding villages at 4.47am local time, (1.17am Irish time) today, the television reported.
The magnitude-6.0 quake was followed by one aftershock, the broadcast said.
The US Geological Survey reported a 5.7-magnitude quake at 4.47am, followed by a 4.7-magnitude 15 minutes later. Their epicentres were 340kms southwest of Tehran.
The area had been hit by a 4.7-magnitude quake the day before, the USGS said.
State-run television said 38 bodies have been pulled out of destroyed houses in Silakhor, a region north of Doroud.
The broadcast said more than 700 people have been injured, most of them in bed, when the quake struck.
Provincial official Ali Barani said several villages hardest hit have been flattened by the quake.
Barani told IRNA that rescue teams have been sent to the region to help the survivors. The injured have been taken to hospitals in Boroujerd and Doroud, he said.
Doroud governor Nasrollah Rashno told IRNA that the quake has damaged buildings in rural areas and cut telephone lines.
The earthquake was classified as moderate, but such quakes have killed thousands of people in the past in the Iranian countryside where houses are often built of bricks, reports Ireland Online.
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