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Powerful earthquake strikes near Iranian holy city of Mashhad

A powerful earthquake has struck north-eastern Iran near the holy city of Mashhad.

The magnitude 6.1 tremor killed at least one person and sent residents fleeing on to the streets as aftershocks shook the region.

The shallow quake damaged at least four villages near its epicentre in the Sefid Sang district, a remote mountainous area home to 5,000 people, located about 50 miles south-east of Mashhad, according to reports.

The reports said rescue teams and helicopters had been deployed to assess the damage.

Semi-official Iranian news agencies posted videos online of people in the streets, items falling off store shelves and photos of damaged buildings.

Press TV said at least one person was killed. The semi-official Fars news agency said five people were injured and that mobile phone service and landline telephone lines had been affected.

State media described the depth of the quake as only 6.2 miles.

The US Geological Survey described the earthquake as a 6.1, saying it had a depth of only eight miles.

Iran sits on a series of seismic fault lines and experiences one slight quake a day on average.

In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic south-eastern city of Bam.

AP

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