Iran earthquakes 'leave scores dead' in Tabriz region
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Two strong earthquakes have struck north-western Iran, leaving at least 180 people dead and more than 1,300 injured, officials say.
The quakes struck near the city of Tabriz and the town of Ahar, but most of the casualties are thought to be in outlying villages.
Reports say phone lines to many villages have been cut off, making rescue efforts harder.
The US Geological Service measured the quakes at magnitude 6.4 and 6.3.
"The quake has created huge panic among the people," one resident of Tabriz told the BBC. "Everyone has rushed to the streets and the sirens of ambulances are everywhere."
The towns of Haris and Varzaqab in East Azerbaijan province were among those that suffered casualties, Khalil Saei, local crisis committee chief, told state TV, according to the Associated Press.
Officials say at least four villages have been completely destroyed, with another 60 villages suffering damage ranging from 50% to 70%.
Officials warn that the death toll may rise.
A provincial official has warned people in the region to stay outdoors overnight because of the risk of aftershocks.
"My family is really terrified. It is night time now but we cannot sleep," Tabriz resident Amina Zia told the BBC.
"This earthquake was... very strong and violent.
"There were around 10 aftershocks, which lasted a total of 10 minutes."
The two earthquakes came within minutes of each other, according to seismology experts at Tehran University.
Dozens of rescue workers have been sent to the region, but the onset of darkness has hampered relief efforts.----
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