Fourth earthquake jolts Israel in two-week period; no casualties
Last update - 12:18 02/12/2007
By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press
The fourth earthquake in two weeks shook parts of Israel on Sunday, causing no casualties or damage.

Israel's Geophysical Institute stated that the tremor, which was felt in Holon and Jerusalem, had a magnitude of 4.0. on the Richter Scale. Its epicenter was north of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, on the active Syrian-African rift fault line where earthquakes are common.

"On average, major earthquakes hit Israel once a century. But the recent tremors do not indicate that a large-scale quake is on the way," said Dr. Uri Frieslander, director of the Geophysical Institute.

"What we're seeing are typical movements along the Dead Sea valley," Frieslander told Israel Radio.

"These quakes...don't foreshadow anything or indicate that something is about to happen," he said.

None of the recent quakes have caused injuries or damage. But in the past, earthquakes have caused serious damage to Safed, Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Nablus, and have damaged holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, sacred to many Christians as the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial.

The last major earthquake to strike the area was in 1927. It had a magnitude of more than 6 and killed 500 people. Israeli experts say that because of population growth and high-rise construction, an earthquake of the same magnitude today would kill more than 18,000 people.

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  • Original article: Ha'aretz
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