Baghdad/Ankara - Iran said on Tuesday that rescue operations have ended in areas hit by a powerful weekend earthquake that killed at least 450 people and injured thousands of others, state television reported.
"The rescue operations in the (western) Kermanshah province have ended," Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services, said on state TV.
Sunday's 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck villages and towns in the mountainous area of Kermanshah province that borders Iraq while many people were at home asleep. At least 14 provinces in Iran were affected.
Iranian state television said the quake had caused heavy damage in some villages where houses were made of earthen bricks. Rescuers were labouring to find survivors trapped under collapsed buildings.
The quake also triggered landslides that hindered rescue efforts, officials told state television. At least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected, Iranian media reported.
Electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.
The Iranian seismological centre registered around 118 aftershocks and said more were expected. The head of Iranian Red Crescent said more than 70 000 people were in need of emergency shelter.
Israeli media said the quake was felt in many parts of Israel as well. In a statement, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said, "My condolences to the people of Iran and Iraq over the loss of human life caused by the earthquake." Iran refuses to recognise Israel.