18 dead, more than 600 injured in Turkey earthquake

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A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 18 people and collapsing buildings in affected towns near the center of the tremor, which was felt in several neighboring countries.

The magnitude 6.8 quake shook Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

Thirteen people were killed in Elazig and five more in the neighboring province of Malatya, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said after rushing to the region with other ministers to oversee the rescue operation.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said emergency workers were searching for 30 people under the rubble, and more than 500 people were injured.

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