Second Earthquake of the Day Felt in Northern Israel
A sixth earthquake has been reported in Israel's north as tremors were felt in the area of Tiberias measuring 2.2 on the Richter scale, triggering concerns that a major seismic event could be in the offing.
On Monday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered emergency earthquake drills in schools throughout the country.
"Following four earthquakes in the past few days, the prime minister has ordered emergency drills in schools and instructions to be given to the public," the Prime Minister's office said.
Shas MK Eli Yishai, who heads the parliamentary committee charged with home front preparedness, announced a "special meeting" on Monday "in wake of the wave of earthquakes."
"We must be prepared for any scenario," he declared.
The quake felt at around 1.30 pm is the second of the day after a quake at around 11 am this morning in the same area measured 3.3 on the Richter scale. No damage was reported in either incident.
Minister for the Protection of the Environment MK Amir Peretz (Hatnua) has urged factories in the north step up tours to assess the risk of dangerous materials causing posing risks to residents in the event of a more serious earthquake.
As concerns heighten about the possibility of a major incident, Peretz also called on offices to run emergency drills to ensure workers were able to exit buildings quickly and safely in the advent of a more serious earthquake.
Tuesday afternoon's earthquake is the sixth in the Galilee in less than a week, although all have been minor. Eight days ago, a larger earthquake was felt in southern and central Israel, measuring at 6.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter beneath the Mediterranean about 40 kilometers under the sea bed, with tremors felt by citizens in Israel's central and southern towns of Raanana, Rehovot and Ashkelon.
Scientists at the Israel Geophysical Institute said they were examining the quakes, searching for patterns and clues that could indicate if the sudden confluence of small earthquakes could indicate that something bigger was imminent.
The Sea of Galilee, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea all lie close to the seismically-active Afro-Syrian rift.
The last notable quake, a 4.2 magnitude tremor, was registered in Israel in August 2011.
In 1927, about 300 people were killed when a quake hit Jerusalem and nearby Jericho.
A similar quake in 1837 measuring 7.0 and with an epicentre in the Hula Valley, which today lies in northern Israel, devastated the town of Safed and killed some 4,000 people.