Monday, February 18, 2008


A day after Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned of "open war" against Israel, and Iran's ambassador threatened an "earthquake" against the "Zionist regime," Lebanese and Palestinians were terrified by a real tremor. The eastern Mediterranean trembled with a moderate quake just after noon, shaking buildings in Beirut and sending terrified Lebanese and Palestinians into the streets. The second tremor in a week, it was slightly stronger than Monday night's, which measured 4.0 on the Richter scale.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said on its Web site that the quake Friday was 5.3 on the Richter scale and that its epicenter was in Lebanon, more than 10 times the strength of the earlier one, whose epicenter was about 4 miles east of Tyre, in the heart of Hezbollah's stornghold in southern Lebanon. The state-run National News Agency said it lasted several seconds and sent panicked residents to the streets.

In the southern coastal city of Tyre, residents ran toward the seashore and began reciting verses of the Koran after the tremor struck, an AFP correspondent witnessed.

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