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Strong earthquake hits Italy, some houses damaged

AN earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale rocked central Italy today, seriously damanging some houses and causing a few structures to collapse in a mountainous region east of Rome, officials said.

A number of people were reported to have been injured and others trapped under rubble in the area where the city of l'Aquila is situated, but officials had few details on the situation.

The quake struck at about 3.35 am (0135 GMT) and was centred in the mountainous Abruzzo region east of Rome.

Several old structures collapsed in l'Aquila, the Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Residents in many parts of central Italy felt the quake and some ran out into the streets. Residents of Rome, which is rarely hit by seismic activity, were woken by the quake. Furniture rattled, lights swayed and car alarms went off.

The US Geological Survey said the quake's epicentre was believed to be some 60 miles (95 km) from Rome and that its depth was 6.2 miles (10 km). It initially put the scale of the quake at 6.7 but later lowered it 6.3.

The quake was the lastest and strongest in a series to hit the l'Aquila area yesterday and today.

Earthquakes can be particularly dangerous in parts of Italy because some buildings are centuries-old.


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