At least 9 killed in Turkey following quake in neighboring Iran

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At least nine people were killed and 37 injured in the eastern Turkish province of Van after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck western Iran on Sunday morning, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced.

Four of the fatalities were children and nine of the injured were in critical condition, the minister added.

The quake, centered in the Iranian city of Khoy, affected villages in Van. Many people remained trapped under the debris of toppled buildings, said Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, according to The Associated Press.

He said at a news conference in Ankara that the quake hit four Turkish villages in Van and that some of the fatalities had occurred in Özpınar, where search and rescue teams had arrived.

Official Iranian news agency IRNA said the earthquake had damaged homes and other buildings in 43 villages in the mountainous Qotour area.

Turkish broadcaster NTV showed images of residents and soldiers digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings as families fearing further tremors sat in snowy streets. The European Mediterranean Seismological Center reported several aftershocks that measured up to 3.9 in magnitude.

The region has a history of powerful earthquakes. Last month, a quake centered on the eastern Turkish city of Elazığ killed more than 40 people.

Turkey sits on major fault lines, and earthquakes are nearly a daily occurrence in the country.

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