Quake causes panic, damages homes in Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - A magnitude 4.9 earthquake hit eastern Algeria on Friday, toppling three houses, damaging others and sending panicked people rushing into the streets but there were no reports of casualties, the civil protection service said.

The quake, which was followed by a 4.5 aftershock, hit Mila province, some 350 km (215 miles) east of the capital Algiers.

Three homes, including a four-storey villa completely collapsed while 31 other apartments partially collapsed, civil protection said.

The quake also caused cracks in other homes and a road had to be closed as a result of the damage, it said.

In 2003, a earthquake of magnitude 6.7 hit the capital and nearby areas, killing 2,000 people.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Alison Williams