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Death toll in Iranian earthquakes reaches 180

TEHRAN, Iran — Two strong earthquakes struck the northwestern Iranian region of Azerbaijan on Saturday, killing at least 180 people and injuring some 1,350, Provincial Governor Khalil Saei told official the news agency.

Striking within 11 minutes of one another — at 4:49 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time — the two tremors registered magnitudes of 6.2 and 6, respectively. Worst hit were the towns of Ahar and Varzeqan, but the earthquakes also rattled nearby villages.

According to unconfirmed reports, some 60 villages were badly damaged by the twin quakes. It is unclear how many people live in these villages.

Saei also warned that because of probable aftershocks, people in the quake-hit areas should sleep outdoors on Saturday night.

The Red Crescent said it would establish mobile hospitals in the affected areas to give emergency aid to the injured.

Some of the injured died while being transferred to the nearby cities, Saei said.

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