Northern Israel was hit by an earthquake late Thursday night. Residents reported tremors and what they said sounded like explosions. "It felt like a bomb went off near the house," one resident said.
People in Afula, Nazereth and Migdal Haemek in the North said they also heard loud explosions.Authorities later confirmed that the tremors were caused by an earthquake, estimated to have been a 3.6 on the Richter scale. The last earthquake reported in Israel occurred in July, when a 4.1 magnitude earthquake shook Haifa and the Galilee region.Israel is located along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the Israel-Jordan border, part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from eastern Lebanon to Mozambique. A major earthquake is statistically due to strike Israel every 80-100 years.In 1927, a major earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter Scale struck Israel, killing 500 people. Another major earthquake is therefore now due.A 2016 report by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Home-Front Readiness Subcommittee found that if Israel were to be struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed, another 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. In addition, the country could face damage of up to NIS 200 billion ($55 billion). According to the National Emergency Authority, there are 80,000 buildings, including schools and hospitals, that are over three stories high and that were built before 1980, making them illegible according to current construction standards.