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ALGIERS (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.5 earthquake hit southeast of the Algerian capital on Friday, shaking buildings and sending panicked families rushing into the streets of Algiers and nearby towns, witnesses and officials said.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake had struck nine miles (14 km) southeast of Algiers and its epicentre was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles.

There were no immediate reports of damage, according to Algerian state television. An emergency services spokesman said five people had been injured during a panicked rush to get out of buildings.

In 2003, Algeria's strongest earthquake in years - measuring 6.7 - struck the capital and surrounding areas, killing at least 2,000 people and crumbling buildings in the nearby towns of Bourmerdes and Rouiba.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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