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Istanbul earthquake: 5.7 magnitude tremor rocks Turkish metropolis

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A man takes a picture of a damaged mosque in Istanbul following the earthquake
A man takes a picture of a damaged mosque in Istanbul following the earthquake -
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REUTERS
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A 5.7 magnitude earthquake shook buildings and damaged two mosques in Istanbul on Thursday, slightly injuring eight people and causing residents to rush out of buildings into the street.

Witnesses said they felt buildings sway and said some offices and schools were temporarily evacuated. Three major seismic fault lines criss-cross Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city with 15 million inhabitants, which straddles Europe and Asia.

“The quake really shook at the start and then it continued, maybe it felt like that because the building is so tall,” said Ozge Etcan, 27, an employee at a financial firm in Istanbul’s Levent district, where crowds gathered outside in the aftermath of the tremor.

The earthquake was at a depth of 12.6 km, the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute said, locating its epicentre 70 km west of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea, south of the town of Silivri. It struck at 1.59 pm.

Both the observatory and the US Geological Survey assessed its magnitude at 5.7.

“Despite this earthquake having a magnitude that could be considered serious, we have not as yet received heartbreaking news, just some small damage,” President Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference.

He said eight people had been treated for minor injuries, but did not provide further details.

The top section of a minaret collapsed at the central mosque in Istanbul’s Avcilar district, close to the Marmara Sea, CNN Turk footage showed.

Another minaret collapsed in the Sariyer district of the city, the municipality’s disaster coordination centre said.

“There will be aftershocks of this quake. What we ask from citizens is that they don’t enter damaged buildings,” Murat Nurlu, head of the earthquake department at Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), told Reuters.