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A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.6 hit deep under the ocean off Indonesia and East Timor early Tuesday, according to the US Geological Survey. The epicentre of the quake was 427 kilometres (265 miles) south of the Indonesian island of Ambon at a depth of 95 kilometres. 

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported some aftershocks at a magnitude of 5.5, as per AFP reports. 

According to the agency, the tremor was felt on the islands of Timor, Maluku archipelago, and Papua. But there were no reports of damages or victims.

"I was in bed then I felt little shake. I woke up and found out that many of my friends felt it too," Hamdi, an Indonesian in Ambon told AFP.

The Indonesian geophysics agency warned about a potential tsunami initially, and then lifted the warning. The quake was felt as far as Darwin, capital of Australia's Northern Territory, where at least 1,000 people reported it to the Australian Geoscience agency.

"Sustained vigorous shaking here in #Darwin just now from what looks to be a pretty serious #earthquake to our north," OreboundImages, a Twitter user said. 

Video posted by Twitter users in Darwin showed water in glasses and pitchers sloshing from side to side.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

On November 21, a 5.6-magnitude quake hit the populous West Java province on the main island of Java, killing 602 people.

A major earthquake off Sumatra on December 26, 2004, set off an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people as far away as Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

That powerful 9.1-magnitude quake triggered 100-foot waves that hit the shore of Banda Aceh on Sumatra.

 

(With AFP inputs)

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