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Two minor earthquakes rattle northern Israel within hours

No reports of injuries or damage in latest in a string of tremors felt over past month

Illustrative -- An official looks a seismograph at an observation post near a recent volcanic eruption in Carita, Indonesia, Dec. 27, 2018 (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Illustrative -- An official looks a seismograph at an observation post near a recent volcanic eruption in Carita, Indonesia, Dec. 27, 2018 (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Residents of northern Israel felt a small earthquake on Wednesday morning, the second within a number of hours and the latest in a string of temblors to hit the area over the past month.

The Geological Survey of Israel’s seismology division said the quake measured 3.2 magnitude on the Richter scale and had an epicenter 15 kilometers (9.5 miles) northeast of Beit She’an.

Police said in a statement that there were no reports of injuries or damage.

On Tuesday evening, the same area was rattled by a quake the Geological Survey of Israel said registered as 3.5 magnitude.

The epicenter was also northeast of Beit She’an, in the Jordanian border town of Al-Shunah al-Shamalyah. That quake didn’t cause any injuries or damage.

Police said they received dozens of calls following the quake and Hebrew media quoted some Israelis as saying they felt furniture shaking.

According to the military’s Home Front Command, an early warning system was not activated because the earthquake did not pose a danger.

The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said that in addition to Israel, it also received reports of the Tuesday earthquake from users in Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

The quake came just over a week after the Home Front Command held a large earthquake drill throughout the country, following a rash of several minor temblors felt in the country.

On January 11, a large 6.5-magnitude quake hit off the west coast of Cyprus and was felt in nearby Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

Less than two weeks later, two small earthquakes rattled northern Israel within hours, leading to the evacuation of a school in Afula and the city hall of Beit She’an.

In early February, another quake off the coast of Cyprus was felt in Israel, in what the Cypriot geological survey department said was an aftershock of the large temblor that occurred off the east Mediterranean island the previous month.

There were no reports of injuries or serious damage in the quakes, but the unusual amount of recent tremors felt in parts of the country has led some residents to believe a larger earthquake is on the way.

Israel lies along the Syrian-African rift, an active fault line that runs the length of the border separating Israel and Jordan. Major earthquakes in the area happen on average once every 80 years, though the last occurred over a century ago.

Geological experts have recently warned that some one million homes in Israel are at risk of collapse in case of an earthquake.

According to estimates, a major earthquake could cause about 7,000 deaths and 145,000 injuries, with 170,000 people left homeless and 320,000 buildings damaged.

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