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Netanyahu says Israel offered aid to Iran, Iraq

15 November 2017

This quake struck just after 9 p.m. on Sunday, and has been recognized as the strongest natural disaster to ever hit the Western part of Iran.

"I was living on the fourth floor", said Ali Biabani, a labourer in his 50s.

Rouhani landed by helicopter in the city of Kermanshah and promised the government would move swiftly to help those left homeless.

"We were happy (after buying the flat), because we had escaped poverty", he said, but added: "look yourself, no one can live in there anymore".

On Tuesday afternoon, residents of Sar-e Pol-e Zahab helped police evacuate an elderly man, his face caked in blood, from a home at risk of imminent collapse.

Rescue workers with sniffer dogs combed the ruins for survivors after at least 280 people were killed in the town of some 85,000 people. Iraq's Red Crescent put the toll at nine dead.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif thanked foreign countries offering to help but wrote on Twitter: "For now, we are able to manage with our own resources". Moezi said there was a need for more relief material and "security".

Rouhani said that all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up after the Islamic revolution of 1979 that are major players in the Iranian economy.

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In a televised interview on Monday, IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said his forces are working in close cooperation with the Army to help victims of the massive natural disaster in western Iran.

Initial Iranian government estimates suggest the quake destroyed 12,000 apartments and free-standing homes and damaged another 15,000.

"Newly constructed buildings... held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed", he told state television. Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, authorities said, and several villages were completely wiped from the map.

Temperatures in Kermanshah province fell close to freezing for the second night in succession. Ali Daei, football coach and former player and world record holder for worldwide goalscoring, was among the first to help those in need by starting a campaign in Tehran to gather humanitarian aid for Kermanshah. Nonetheless, it was the deadliest quake so far in 2017, killing about 400 people and injuring 7,000.

To oversee relief and rescue efforts, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday reached the province, where the victims had been complaining about lack of food, water and tents.

Iran sees frequent seismic activity.

More than 316 people were killed in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab alone, about 15km from the Iraqi border.

Iran is crisscrossed by major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 that reduced the historic southeastern city of Bam to dust and killed some 31,000 people.

Netanyahu says Israel offered aid to Iran, Iraq