5 killed, 300 injured as earthquake hits northwestern Iran

A car lays smashed by debris from an earthquake in Varankesh village in Eastern Azerbaijan province, Iran, November 8, 2019.

At least five people have been killed and 330 others injured after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Iran on Friday, Iranian state-run Press TV reported.

Press TV said emergency and evaluation teams are operating and Red Crescent teams have been dispatched to the area.

The tremor struck at around 2:00 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m ET Thursday) in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province and there have been more than 50 aftershocks, Press TV said. It added that buildings in the area have been destroyed.

The quake had a shallow depth of only 8 kilometers (almost 5 miles) according to the University of Tehran Seismological Center, as cited by Iranian state media.

Initial reports said three small villages in the area were destroyed in the quake, semi-official FARS news reported.

Iran sits on a major fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian plates and has experienced many earthquakes in the past.

Last year, a quake that struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November killed at least 361 people.

More than 400 people were killed and thousands injured when a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November 2017.

The deadliest this century occurred in 2003 when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the southeastern city of Bam, killing some 26,000 people.

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