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5.8 magnitude earthquake shakes buildings in İstanbul with mild damage

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A moderate 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook buildings and damaged two mosques in İstanbul on Thursday, slightly injuring eight people and causing residents to rush from buildings, Reuters reported.

Witnesses in the city of 15 million, Turkey’s largest, felt buildings sway and said some offices and schools were temporarily evacuated. Three major seismic fault lines criss-cross İstanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia.

The tremor was at a depth of 12.6 kilometers, the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute said, locating its epicenter 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea, south of the town of Silivri. It struck at 1:59 p.m. local time.

“Despite this earthquake having a magnitude that could be considered serious, we have not as yet received heartbreaking news, just some small damage,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a news conference.

He said eight people had been treated for slight injuries but did not provide further details.

The top section of a minaret had collapsed at the central mosque in Istanbul’s Avcılar district, close to the Marmara Sea, CNN Türk footage showed.

Another minaret collapsed in the Sarıyer district of the city, the municipality’s disaster coordination center said.

“There will be aftershocks of this quake. What we ask from residents is that they don’t enter damaged buildings,” Murat Nurlu, head of the earthquake department at Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), told Reuters.

Cracks emerged in some buildings across the city. Two of them in the Sultangazi and Eyüp districts were damaged, AFAD said in a statement, clocking the quake at a magnitude of 5.8.

Mobile phone users had difficulty making calls shortly after the quake. AFAD said work was continuing to resolve the problem in communications.

The epicenter was 22 kilometers from the nearest inhabited area, Silivri, AFAD said. It said there had been 28 aftershocks, the strongest of which had a magnitude of 4.1.

The İstanbul Governor’s Office said primary and middle schools had been ordered shut for the remainder of the day.

In 1999 a quake measuring 7.6 struck the city of İzmit, 90 kilometers southeast of İstanbul, killing more than 17,000 people.

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