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Jan 6, 2:53 AM EST

Moderate quake kills 4 people in rural area in southern Iran


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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck a village deep in southern Iran on Friday, killing four people and injuring four others, Iranian state television reported.

The TV said the quake struck in the morning hours in the village of Saifabad near the town of Khonj, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. According to the TV, the four fatalities are Afghan nationals, who worked on local farms. It said one of the injured was also an Afghan laborer.

The local governor, Mokhtar Abbasi, told the TV that rescue workers are on site, helping the victims in Saifabad and also assessing the damage in neighboring villages. The quake did not affect infrastructure and utilities, Abbasi said.

The epicenter of the quake is in a mountainous and sparsely populated rural area.

The U.S. Geological Survey described the temblor as a 5.3 magnitude quake, striking at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in Iran's Fars province. Magnitude 5 earthquakes can cause considerable damage.

Iran sits on a series of seismic fault lines and experiences one slight quake a day on average. In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam.

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