Earthquake hits near Iran Shiite holy city Mashhad

earthquakeTEHRAN: A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck near the holy city of Mashhad in Iran’s northeast on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Iranian media said.

USGS said the quake occurred 76 km (miles) east-southeast of the city and at a depth of 33 km.

Iranian state television said the quake happened at 10:40 a.m. local time (0610 GMT) and had shaken Mashhad and cities around it. Pictures posted on social media showed deep cracks in streets and buildings and Tasnim news agency reported that phone lines in some of the affected area were disrupted.

There were no immediate casualty reports but state news agency IRNA quoted emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi as saying there were fears that casualties in villages and small towns could be high. Red Crescent teams and emergency services had been deployed to the area, he said.