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Casualties Reported After Strong Quake Hits Northeastern Iran

A magnitude-6.1 earthquake has struck near the northwestern Iranian city of Mashhad, reportedly killing at least two people and injuring several others.

The quake struck nearly 80 kilometers southeast of Iran's second-biggest city at about 10:40 a.m. (0640 GMT/UTC) on April 5, the U.S. Geological Survey and Iranian media said. Reports said aftershocks shook the region.

The Iranian news agency ISNA quoted a Red Crescent official as saying that two people were killed and 11 injured, and that there were more than 30 aftershocks.

Earlier, emergency-services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi said there were fears of casualties in villages and small towns. He said Red Crescent teams and emergency services had been deployed to the area.

Pictures posted online showed deep cracks and damage to some buildings, and the Tasnim news agency said phone lines in some of the affected area were disrupted.

"It was horrible. It made a lot of noise. Everything was shaking," a Mashhad resident told the AFP news agency by phone.

Earthquakes are frequent in Iran, which is located on seismic faults.

In 2003, a magnitude-6.6 earthquake killed about 26,000 people and flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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