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40 killed in earthquake in Iran's northwest, news agency reports

August 11, 2012 |  9:40 am

TEHRAN -- An estimated 40 people in Iran were killed Saturday when two strong earthquakes, one measuring a magnitude 6.2, struck the rural town of Ahar in the country's northwest, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

About 400 people have been injured in the earthquakes, and residents in the area were advised by a head of the natural disaster headquarters to sleep outdoors tonight because possible earthquake tremors were expected. 

"The jolt was strong. We rushed outdoors and into the streets in a panic," said one resident in the city of Tabriz, an hour south of Ahar. "It seems in Tabriz there are no casualties."

The area has experienced five tremors in the past week alone. The quake hit at 4:43 pm at a depth of six miles, according to Tehran University's Seismological Center.

Iran has a deadly history of earthquakes. In 2003, more than 25,000 people were killed when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the southeast part of the country.

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 --Ramin Mostaghim

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