Emergency operations are underway in the western province of Kermanshah, where over 300 people have lost their lives following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake. 

The earthquake hit the border area between Iran and Iraq, and was recorded at 9.18pm local time on Sunday, November 12. 

Most of the 396 deaths reported so far are in Kermanshah, with more than 5,600 injuries. The death toll is expected to rise. 

According to Iranian emergency services officials, the Iranian town of Sarpol-e Zahab, which is about 10 miles from the border with Iraq, has been badly affected. At least eight other villages were affected, and at least 70,000 people are in need of shelter.

The quake also caused at least 14 deaths in Iraq, with over 300 people reportedly injured. The town of  Darbandikhan in the Kurdish region was badly damaged 

The 7.3 magnitude was recorded by the US Geological Survey, and Iranian geologists put it slightly higher, at 7.5.

Because of its location near the border with Iraq, Kermanshah has traditionally been of strategic importance for Iran’s military. In June 2017, as part of its fight against ISIS, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards fired mid-range, ground-to-ground missiles from Kermanshah and Kurdistan.

 

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