Earthquake hits Iraq near border wirubber bracelets for saleth Iran, several killed in both countries
* Quake epicentre in Sulaimaniyah province in Kurdistanregion
* Also causes casualties, damage across border in Iran
* Magnitude 7.3 quake, according to US Geological Survey
* Felt in Turkey and Israel as well(Adds detail)
BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq, Nov 12 (Reuters) - At least four peopledied in Iraq and several were killed across the border in Iranon Sunday when a strong earthquake hit the region, officials andstate media in the two countries said.
The US Geological Survey said the quake measured a magnitudeof 7.3, while an Iraqi meteorology official put its magnitude at6.5 with the epicentre in Penjwin in Sulaimaniyah province inthe Kurdistan region close to the main border crossing withIran.
Kurdish health officials said as well as at least fourpeople being killed there were 50 injured.
Across the border in Iran, state TV said several people werekilled and many others injured when at least eight bordervillages were damaged. Electricity had been cut in the area andrescue teams had been dispatched to the area.
On the Iraqi side, the most extensive damage was in the townof Darbandikhan, 75 kms (47 miles) east of the city ofSulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. More than30 people were injured in the town, according to the KurdishHealth Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed.
"The situation there is very critical," Rasheed toldReuters.
The district"s main hospital was severely damaged and had nopower, Rasheed said, so the injured were being taken toSulaimaniyah for treatment. There was extensive structuraldamage to buildings and homes.
There were reports of injuries in a stretch of cities, townsand rural villages near the Iranian border, including Halabja,Khanaqin and Panjwin.
Residents were keeping away from their homes and sleeping onthe streets, several hours after the quake hit.
In Halabja, local officials said that a 12-year-old boy diedfrom an electric shock when an electric cable fell during theearthquake.
Iraq"s interior minister ordered civil defence and firefighting crews to be on high alert after the quake.
In Iran, the earthquake was felt in the capital Tehran.
Media gave contradictory casualty figures. Semi-official Farsnews agency and state news agency IRNA said at least six peoplehad been killed and many others injured in the border town ofQasr-e Shirin.
But the governor of Qasr-e Shirin, Faramarz Akbari, saidonly two people had died in the town and 25 others were injured.
"The quake was felt in several Iranian provinces borderingIraq ... Eight villages were damaged ... Electricity has beencut in some villages and rescue teams have been dispatched tothose areas," TV reported.
Semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted an emergencyservices official as saying there were fears that casualties invillages and small towns could be high.
People were staying out on the streets in towns in thewestern Kermanshah province because of the threat fromaftershocks, a local Red Crescent official told TV.
"DANCING IN THE AIR"
Many residents in the Iraqi capital Baghdad rushed out ofhouses and tall buildings in panic.
"I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly thebuilding was just dancing in the air," said Majida Ameer, whoran out of her building in the capital"s Salihiya district withher three children. "I thought at first that it was a huge bomb.
But then I heard everyone around me screaming "Earthquake!""
There were similar scenes in Erbil, the capital of theKurdistan Region, and across other cities in northern Iraq,close to the quake"s epicentre.
Iraq"s meteorology centre advised people to stay away frombuildings and not to use elevators, in case of aftershocks.
Residents of Turkey"s southeastern city of Diyarbakir alsoreported feeling a strong tremor, but there were no immediatereports of damage or casualties in the city.
Turkish Red Crescent Chairman Kerem Kinik told broadcasterNTV that Red Crescent teams in Erbil were preparing to go to thesite of the earthquake, and that Turkey’s national disastermanagement agency AFAD and National Medical Rescue Teams (UMKE)were also preparing to head into Iraq. AFAD’s chairman said theorganisation was waiting for a reply to its offer for help.
In a tweet, Kinik said the Turkish Red Crescent wasgathering 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets andmoving them towards the Iraqi border.
"We are coordinating with Iranian and Iraqi Red Crescentgroups. We are also getting prepared to make deliveries from ournorthern Iraq Erbil depot," he said.
Israeli media said the quake was felt in many parts ofIsrael too.
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