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6.6-magnitude quake hits off Cyprus coast, felt across Israel

No immediate report of injuries or damage in quake in the early hours of the morning; Israeli officials say no concern of a tsunami

Illustrative: A seismograph detects an earthquake (Petrovich9; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative: A seismograph detects an earthquake (Petrovich9; iStock by Getty Images)

A 6.6-magnitude quake hit off the west coast of Cyprus early Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said. Reports said it was felt in nearby Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

The strong and relatively shallow quake was centered 48 kilometers (30 miles) west-northwest of the town of Polis on the Mediterranean island, the USGS said.

It shook buildings in the capital Nicosia, 130 kilometers away, and the few people who were awake went out into the streets.

“It was frightening. The whole building was shaking endlessly,” one Nicosia resident told AFP. “I thought it will never end.”

There was a low likelihood of casualties and damage from the quake, the USGS said in its preliminary assessment.

Cyprus lies in a secondary earthquake-prone zone, but tremors of such magnitude are uncommon.

The biggest quake in recent years was a magnitude 6.8 in 1996, which killed two people in Paphos along the west coast.

In Israel, people reported feeling tremors across the country. There was no immediate report of damage or injuries.

The Israel Police said it received hundreds of calls from concerned residents and reassured the public there were no threats of a tsunami.

The Mediterranean island is some 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Israel.

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