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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.

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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.


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