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More than 500 injured in magnitude 6.3 earthquake in western Iran

More than 500 injured in magnitude 6.3 earthquake in western Iran
The earthquake was felt as far away as the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. (Los Angeles Times)

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck western Iran near its border with Iraq on Sunday night, injuring more than 500 people and sending fearful residents running into the street, authorities said.

The temblor hit near Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province, which was the epicenter of an earthquake last year that killed more than 600 people and where some remain homeless.

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Dr. Mahmoud Reza Moradi, the head of Kermanshah’s university of medical science, told state television that 513 people were hurt. Most of the injuries appeared to be minor; the semiofficial news agency ISNA reported that only 33 people needed to be hospitalized.

He said that those injured were from rural areas and that the situation was under control.

Authorities said that dozens of rescue teams were immediately deployed after the quake stopped, and that the country's army and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard were responding.

Officials reported damage at buildings both in town and in rural Kermanshah, as well as to some roadways. The temblor also downed power lines and caused outages into the night as temperatures hovered around 46 degrees.

The quake struck just after 8 p.m., meaning most were still awake at the time and able to quickly flee.

The quake occurred at a depth of 6.2 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Iran state TV gave the depth as 3.1 miles. Such shallow earthquakes have broader damage.

The earthquake was felt as far away as the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, about 110 miles southwest.

Iran is located on major seismic faults andaverages an earthquake a day. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam in southern Iran, killing 26,000 people.

Last year's earthquake near Sarpol-e Zahab, a predominantly Kurdish town, had a magnitude of 7.3 and injured more than 9,000 people. The region, nestled in the Zagros Mountains, largely rebuilt in recent decades after Iran and Iraq's ruinous 1980s war, saw many buildings collapse or sustain major damage in the 2017 quake.

Sarpol-e Zahab, about 325 miles southwest of Tehran, the Iranian capital, suffered half of the 2017 temblor's casualties.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with authorities saying more than 500 were injured.

1:35 p.m.: This article was updated with reports of more than 400 people injured.

This article was originally published at 12:55 p.m.

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