6.6-magnitude quake jolts Cyprus

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A 6.6-magnitude quake hit off the west coast of Cyprus early Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no reports of casualties or structural damage.

The strong and relatively shallow quake at 0107 GMT was centred 48 kilometres (30 miles) west-northwest of the town of Polis on the Mediterranean island, the USGS said.

The tremor was felt across Cyprus and around the region with reports from as far away as Turkey, Israel and Lebanon, according to the USGS.

It shook buildings in the capital Nicosia, 130 kilometres away, and some of those who were awake went out into the streets.

"It was frightening. The whole building was shaking endlessly," one Nicosia resident told AFP. "I thought it would never end."

Cyprus police told AFP there were no reports of any injuries or serious structural damage from the quake, but it woke people across the island.

"We were in bed and it woke us up -- it really went on for a long time," Limassol resident Carol Bailey, a 61-year-old French teacher, told AFP.

She said friends who live farther west told her it shook their building and set the lights swinging, while the inside of their fireplace "was making a noise like a horror film".

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre measured the tremor at 6.5 magnitude at a depth of 51 kilometres.

Cyprus lies in a secondary earthquake-prone zone, but tremors of such magnitude are uncommon.

The biggest quake in recent years was a magnitude 6.8 in 1996, which killed two people in Paphos, on the island's west coast.

In 1953, a 6.3-magnitude quake killed 40 people and destroyed hundreds of homes, mostly in the Paphos region.

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