Earthquake panics Lebanon, but no reported injuries

Earthquake panics Lebanon, but no reported injuriesBeirut - An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale struck southern Lebanon Friday afternoon, causing fear and panic among the residents, Lebanese police said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the tremors.

The quake, which was felt at around 1200 GMT, was also detected in northern Israel.

Rashid Jumaa of Lebanon's Geophysical Institute, told the German News Agency dpa that the quake was felt in areas east of the southern port city of Tyre and the village of Srifa.

"We felt the earth moving under our feet and we all rushed outside the house into the street," said a resident of Tyre.

"I am scared from sleeping inside the house because I think we will have a new earthquake ... " a woman from the village of Srifa told local television.

TV news showed residents of Srifa sitting outside their homes with their children for fear that a bigger earthquake will hit the area later in the day.

The tremors sparked panic among the population in southern Lebanon and several families evacuated their homes in the village of Srifa, Lebanese radio stations reported.

Ali Eid, head of the Srifa municipality, said "the town's residents went out to the street leaving their homes for fear of aftershocks."

Jumaa said that no one can predict a larger earthquake, but stressed that the geophysicists were monitoring the situation.

The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) also confirmed that an earthquake had taken place.

According to radio reports the Israeli Health Ministry director- general had recently sent letters to medical facilities in northern Israel warning them that Geophysical Institute believes a large quake may hit the area soon.

A moderate quake was felt across Israel and Lebanon about a year ago, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was recorded in Lebanon. (dpa)

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