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Turkish Health Minister: At Least 12 Dead, 419 Injured in Earthquake

ISTANBUL —A strong earthquake struck Friday in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, killing at least 14 people and injuring hundreds amid collapsed buildings and flooding, officials said.

A small tsunami struck the Seferihisar district south of Izmir, the city in western Turkey that was the worst affected, said Haluk Ozener, director of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute.

At least 12 people were killed in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, including one who drowned, and 419 were injured, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD.

On Samos, where a tsunami warning was issued, two teenagers died after being struck by a wall that collapsed. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted condolences, saying “Words are too poor to describe what one feels before the loss of children.” Another eight people were reportedly treated at the local hospital for light injuries.

Izmir Gov. Yavuz Selim Kosger said at least 70 people were rescued from wrecked buildings, with four destroyed and more than 10 collapsed. Others suffered less severe damage, he said, but did not give an exact number.

Search and rescue efforts were underway in at least 17 buildings, AFAD said. Turkish media showed rescuers pulling people from the rubble. Smoke rose from several spots.

The earthquake, which the Kandilli institute said had a magnitude of 6.9, struck at 2:51 p.m. local time (1151 GMT) in Turkey and was centered was centered in the Aegean northeast of Samos at a depth of 16.5 kilometers (10.3 miles).

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 38 ambulances, two ambulance helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams were working in the city of Izmir. AFAD and Turkish Red Crescent were in Izmir, while Istanbul and other cities sent in rescue teams.

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