Quake in Algeria Leaves 150 Dead, 289 Hurt

Times Wire Services

A powerful earthquake killed at least 150 people in northwestern Algeria on Thursday, striking as they slept and spreading panic through villages and towns in the Mascara region.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.6, according to the Algerian Center for Astrophysical Research, and was followed by a series of aftershocks.

At least 289 people were injured and 8,000 to 10,000 were left homeless by the pre-dawn quake, local rescue officials said.

Thousands of straw-and-mud brick dwellings collapsed on their sleeping occupants. Where structures remained intact, terrified survivors ran into the streets to keep worried vigils for aftershocks.


Algerian authorities sent troops to help in search and rescue missions. Western agencies weighed whether to also send in aid teams because of threats by Islamic extremists against foreigners.