TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - State TV has raised the toll from a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that hit northwestern Iran to at least 180 people dead and more than 1,350 others injured.
The news report says at least six villages were totally leveled in Saturday's quake, and 60 others sustained damage ranging from 50 to 80 percent.
Iran's main news channel said the quake hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province at 4:53 p.m. local time (GMT 12:23), also damaging hundreds of homes.
The broadcast said at least 60 villages sustained damage ranging from 50 to 80 percent, while 4 other villages had been totally leveled to the ground.
The TV said at least 9 aftershocks jolted the same area and were felt in a wide region near the Caspian Sea, causing panic among the population.
Saei, local Crisis Committee chief, urged people in the quake region to stay outdoors and spend the night at parks and open spaces in anticipation of more aftershocks.
Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one earthquake every day on average, although the vast majority are so small they go unnoticed.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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