INTERNATIONAL

Iran-Iraq Border Quake Toll Rises To 430

Teams of Iranian rescuers dug through rubble in a hunt for survivors after a major earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing at least 430 people and injuring thousands.

The 7.3-magnitude quake rocked a border area 30 kilometres southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Many people will have been at home when the quake hit in Iran's western province of Kermanshah, where authorities said it killed at least 413 people and injured 6,700.

Across the border in more sparsely populated areas of Iraq, the Health Ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured.

Iraq's red crescent reported nine dead and more than 400 injured.

Iranian authorities said rescue operations had been largely completed and the government declared today a National day of mourning.

As dusk approached, tens of thousands of Iranians were forced to sleep outside in the cold for a second night as authorities scrambled to provide them with aid.

Some had spent night outdoors after fleeing their homes in the mountainous cross-border region, huddling around fires at dawn as authorities sent in help.