Deadly earthquake hits Italy
At least six people, including four children, have been reported killed after a strong earthquake hit central Italy.
The magnitude 6.3 quake struck near the city of l'Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region east of Rome, early on Monday morning.
Part of a university residence, a church tower and several houses collapsed in l'Aquila, officials said.
The national ANSA news agency reported that several people were feared trapped under the rubble and rescue services have been deployed to the scene.
"There have been a number of collapses in l'Aquila and surrounding towns and villages," Sabina Castelfranco, a Rome-based journalist, told Al Jazeera.
"Many people ran out into the streets and firefighters received hundreds of telephones calls," she said.
Massimo Cialente, the mayor of L'Aquila, told Sky Italia television that two people were reported dead in the small town of Fossa. He said that eight others were missing in the town of San Demetrio dei Vestini.
Electricity supplies to about 15,000 people were cut, while part of the highway linking l'Aquila to Rome was closed, ANSA news agency reported.
According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre of the earthquake was about 95km northeast of Rome, at a depth of about 10km.
It struck 3:32 am (01:32 GMT) when many people were asleep.
The earthquake was the latest and strongest in a series that have shaken the area since Sunday.
It came just hours after a magnitude 4.6 tremor shook Italy's north-central region, with no reports of damage.
That quake was felt over a wide area, shaking buildings as far away as Bologna and Trieste.
Italy is criss-crossed by two fault lines, with some 20 million people at risk from earthquakes.
In October 2002, 30 people, including 27 pupils and a teacher, were crushed under a school in the tiny village of San Giuliano di Puglia during an earthquake.
Twenty-two years earlier, on November 23, 1980, a violent quake struck the southern region of Irpiona near Naples, killing 2,570, injuring 8,850 and displacing 30,000.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
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