7.3-Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Iran and Iraq, Tremors Felt in Israel

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launched an investigation Tuesday into why government housing built by his hard-line predecessor collapsed while others withstood a powerful natural disaster near the border with Iraq that killed more than 530 people.

"It slightly damaged five historical sites including a Safavid-era caravanserai and a Sassanid-era fortress in the counties of Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab and Dalahu in Kermanshah province while assessing the damage is still ongoing", CHTN cited the provincial tourism chief, Jalil Baalai, as saying.

We have water and food but no tent.

"Fortunately no damages were inflicted upon display windows and historical objects within the museum", he added.

Nevertheless, dozens of rescue teams are searching for survivors in larger towns and Red Cross teams are on their way.

Survivors, many left homeless by Sunday's 7.3 magnitude quake that struck villages and towns in Kermansheh province along the mountainous border with Iraq, struggled through another bleak day on Tuesday in need of food, water and shelter.

Tents, some provided by the Red Crescent, dotted green spaces turned into camps for the displaced.

"It is a very cold night. we need help". "I want to assure those who are suffering that the government has begun to act with all means at its disposal and is scrambling to resolve this problem as quickly as possible", he said.

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Health Minister Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi was cited Tuesday by the Tasnim news agency as recognising that aid "distribution was not assured properly" and needed to be improved.

Rouhani said all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, a charitable trust and major player in Iran's economy.

"People's immediate needs are firstly tents, water and food", said the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari. "The faults and shortcomings in the construction of these buildings should be investigated".

Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, with some villages completely wiped from the map.

Iranian athletes are closing ranks to help the quake victims in the western Kermanshah Province. 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. Hundreds of critically injured people were dispatched to hospitals in Tehran.

The area sees frequent seismic activity.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says his administration will probe the cause of so much damage to buildings constructed under a state-owned program in the quake-stricken area along the border with Iraq.

The number of victims in Sunday's quake, which also injured close to 8,000 people, was expected to rise as efforts continued to clear the rubble from 30,000 destroyed homes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.