In the town of Laalam in northeast Algeria, at least four people died in an earthquake on Monday. Sixty-seven people were injured and 30 houses destroyed, the local authorities said.

No one was hurt in Indian-administered Kashmir, but residents fled from their homes on Monday night for fear of a repeat of last year's earthquake which killed about 74,000 people.

Algerian national radio said the earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, shook the region at 8.44pm (1944 GMT). Its epicentre was near the town of Kherrata, between Bejaia and Setif east of the capital, Algiers.

The Algerian news agency APS quoted the authorities as saying that large quantities of rescue materials had been sent to the Kherrata region. There were several aftershocks and many people spent the night outdoors.

A radio journalist in Bejaia said those killed were three children, aged five, nine and 13, and a 26-year-old.

The director of Bejaia's health department said the injured had fractures or were suffering from shock.

Kashmir

In Kashmir the earthquake struck just after 11.15pm (1745 GMT), jolting people out of their beds.

The US Geological Survey said a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck 125km (75 miles) southwest of Gilgit in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, close to the border with the Indian sector of the divided region.

The quake caused doors and windows to rattle in Srinagar, the Indian Kashmir summer capital, sending residents rushing out of their homes.

Police did not report any damage or casualties.

More than 1750 aftershocks have been recorded in Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir since October's 7.6-magnitude earthquake that displaced 3.5 million people in northern Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmir.

Algeria, the north of which is in a seismic zone at the junction between the Eurasian and African plates, is regularly affected by earthquakes.

In May 2003, Algiers and its region were struck by a violent quake that killed 2300 people and injured more than 10,000.