Islamists Blame Israel for Quake Damage

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Islamic Movement blamed Israel for damage at the Temple Mount caused by Friday's earthquake.

Officials from the al-Aksa mosque said tunnels dug by Israeli archaeologists in the area were compromising the stability of the Temple Mount.

Along with cracks in residential buildings, the quake caused the pavement to collapse, leaving a 3-foot deep, 5-foot wide and 6.5-foot long gaping hole, which Islamic officials covered with wooden boards.

The epicenter of the 5.3-magnitude earthquake was about nine miles northeast of the city of Tyre in southern Lebanon.

Lebanese police said five people were lightly injured and several houses damaged in two villages in southern Lebanon.

According to The Associated Press, residents of Damascus and Beirut also felt the quake.

In Israel, the tremors were felt mainly in the Coastal Plain, though a house in a village west of Nablus collapsed onto the main road. No one was injured.

"On average, major earthquakes hit Israel once a century," Dr. Uri Frieslander, director of the Geophysical Institute, told Israel Radio.

"But the recent tremors do not indicate that a large-scale quake is on the way. What we're seeing are typical movements along the Dead Sea valley…which don't foreshadow anything or indicate that something is about to happen," he said.

In 1927, 500 people died when an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale occurred. Today, officials believe a quake of that magnitude would kill an estimated 18,000 people.

According to Israeli geologist Dr. Daniel Wachs, over the past 20 years, successive Israeli governments have failed to take the necessary steps to protect the public before the next large-scale quake.

Sources: Haaretz, The Associated Press 

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