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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 01:43 GMT
Algeria earthquake 'kills four'
Map of Algeria
An earthquake measuring 5.0 has killed at least four people and injured 36 others in Algeria, reports say.

However, one eyewitness said that seven people had been killed, Algerian radio reported in its evening bulletin.

Some 30 houses are said to have collapsed in the town of Laalam in the province of Bejaia, about 300km (190 miles) east of the capital, Algiers.

The earthquake struck at 2044 (1944 GMT), the radio reported, adding that rescue operations were under way.

The tremor's epicentre was located near the town of Kherrata, between the cities of Bejaia and Setif, and measured magnitude 5.0, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was strongly felt across the east of the Bejaia region, reports said, causing panic among residents.

Algeria has suffered a number of deadly earthquakes in recent years.

In May 2003, the Algiers and Boumerdes regions were struck by a powerful earthquake which left 2,300 people dead and more than 10,000 injured.

Twenty-eight people died and 175 were injured when a quake shook the north-west of the country in 1999, while five years earlier a tremor in the western region of Mascara killed 172, with 288 hurt.

Deadly history of earthquakes
27 Nov 05 |  In Depth


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