Jerusalem: Israelis and Palestinians were shaken by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake centred in the Mediterranean sea, but local media reported no casualties or major damage.

Locals in Jerusalem and the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Jenin said buildings shook for several seconds around 2320 IST on Saturday night. Local media said the quake was also felt in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in Israel.

The United States Geological Survey said the epicenter was about 76 kilometres southeast of the Cyprus coast at 19.8 km below the sea.

Cyprus state radio said the tremor was felt on the island's west coast. The last notable quake, a 4.2 magnitude tremor, was registered in Israel and the Palestinian territories in August 2011.

The Jordan valley, the Dead Sea, the southern Negev desert and the Red Sea all lie close to the Afro-Syrian rift.

In 1927, about 300 people were killed when a quake hit Jerusalem and nearby Jericho. A similar quake in 1837 measuring seven on the Richter scale and with an epicentre in the Hula Valley, on Saturday in northern Israel, devastated the town of Safed and killed some 4,000 people.

(Agencies)

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