05:06 GMT19 February 2020
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    Tremors were felt in many middle eastern nations after a major earthquake hit the border area between Iran and Iraq, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC). The death toll in an earthquake that struck western Iran has surpassed 200, local media reported Monday.

    A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit a remote region about 20 miles southwest of the Iraqi town of Halabja near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday, the EMSC reported. The epicenter of the earthquake was located some 127 miles north-east of Iraq's Baghdad, and 67 miles west of Iran’s Kermanshah at a depth of 6 miles.

    The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake was a magnitude 7.3.

    An EMSC geoscientist claimed that the earthquake is the strongest to hit the region in 50 years.

    A Kurdish broadcaster captured the earth-trembling during a news TV show.

    Iran and Iraqi authorities on the border region have now been quoted as saying that at least 100 have died and that thousands have been injured. Local witnesses said that some parts of living compounds have been destroyed, leaving houses collapsed after the quake.

    BBC earlier reported that eight villages in the vicinity of the epicenter lost electricity.

    According to media reports, some residential areas in Israel were also impacted, and the quake was felt in Dubai as well. Witnesses have tweeted videos of trembling walls and furniture.

    Local media outlets said, citing authorities in the affected region, that the death toll is expected to be major in areas hit by the severe earthquake.

    Residents of the impacted region have said that they fear to return to their homes, due to possible aftershocks.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi is following the situation after a quake near Iran-Iraq border and has tasked relevant agencies with ensuring the safety of the country's citizens, the PM's press service said. "Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi is monitoring the situation with citizens and their condition after the earthquake in the country to make sure they are safe," the press service said.

    Meantime, the Iranian Red Crescent has started opening tent campsites to help people affected by a powerful quake near Iran-Iraq border on Sunday, Iranian state TV channel reported.

    Local media also reported, that part of the historical Kurdish Sherwana castle collapsed.

    earthquake, tremors, casualties, Iran, Iraq
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