Two strong earthquakes flattened villages in western Iran early today, killing at least 38 and injuring hundreds, state media reported.
At least 10 tremors rocked the mountainous region throughout the night, state television reported, saying the first one had a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 and struck around 1 a.m. local time. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.7-magnitude quake shortly before 5 a.m. local time, followed by a 4.7-magnitude aftershock.
The quakes were centered near Boroujerd and Doroud, two industrial cities about 210 miles southwest of Tehran.
Boat capsizes; at least 48 killed
A cruise boat carrying up to 150 people capsized Thursday night in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Bahrain, and at least 48 bodies were recovered, the country’s coast guard chief said.
At least 63 people survived.
The official Bahrain News Agency said the al-Dana overturned less than a mile off the coast. Television footage showed the boat capsized but not sunk.
U.S. helicopters and divers joined the rescue operation. Bahrain, an island nation on the western side of the Persian Gulf, is home to the Navy’s 5th Fleet.
Demonstrations enter third day
Thousands of police and demonstrators clashed for a third day Thursday in the worst street violence to hit the country’s restive Kurdish region in more than a decade.
At least three people have been killed and more than 200 people wounded in protests that erupted Tuesday in the city of Diyarbakir during funeral ceremonies for members of the outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party who died in fighting with the Turkish Army last weekend.
Fresh fighting broke out in Diyarbakir on Thursday. The protests spread to the nearby city of Batman where about 5,000 demonstrators chanting pro-PKK slogans threw firebombs at businesses and smashed the windows of banks and government offices.