MUSCAT/TEHRAN: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has sent a cable of condolences to President Dr Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the victims of the earthquake that hit the northern border region between Iran and Iraq. In his cable, His Majesty the Sultan expressed his sincere condolences and sympathy to President Rouhani, praying to the Almighty Allah to rest the departed souls in peace, grant their families patience and the injured quick recovery. Meanwhile, teams of Iranian rescuers dug through rubble in a hunt for survivors on Monday after a major earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing at least 415 people and injuring thousands. The 7.3-magnitude quake rocked a border area 30 km southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9:20 pm on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.
Many people would have been at home when the quake hit in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, where authorities said it killed at least 407 people and injured 6,700. Across the border in more sparsely populated areas of Iraq, the health ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured. Iraq’s Red Crescent reported nine dead and more than 400 injured. As dusk approached on Monday, tens of thousands of Iranians were forced to sleep outside in the cold for a second night as authorities scrambled to provide them with aid.