Deadly 5.9 magnitude earthquake hits northwestern Iran

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TEHRAN: A night-time earthquake in northwestern Iran on Friday killed five people and injured 120, according to early reports on state television.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck around 60km (35 miles) from the town of Hastrud, in East Azerbaijan Province, shortly before 2:30 am local time on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday).

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It was 8km (5 miles) deep and described as “moderate” by Iran’s Seismological Centre. There were five aftershocks.

Provincial governor, Mohammad-Reza Pourmohammadi, told local media that at least 30 houses had been destroyed.

The EMSC said that some 20 million people felt the quake.

One official said that “the earthquake was in the middle of the village of Varankesh and the injured were from the city of Sarab. A number of houses were reported demolished in the city of Turkmenchay.

Tabriz has been the site of many deadly earthquakes throughout history.

In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake in northern Iran killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless, reducing dozens of towns and nearly 2,000 villages to rubble.

Iran has experienced at least two other significant quakes in recent years — one in 2005 that killed more than 600 people and another in 2012 that left some 300 dead.