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Italy quake: Powerful tremor near Norcia destroys buildings

A strong earthquake has struck near Norcia in central Italy, destroying numerous buildings.

The quakes come nearly two months after a major earthquake killed almost 300 people and destroyed several towns.

Sunday's quake measured magnitude 6.6, larger than August's quake and aftershocks last week. It is thought to be Italy's most violent in decades.

At least nine people have been hurt but no deaths are reported so far. Many locals left after last week's quakes.

Nine people have been pulled alive from the rubble, Italian media say.

Tremors were felt in the capital Rome, and as far away as Venice in the north. It was at a depth of only 1.5km (0.9 miles).

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake was 68km south-east of the regional centre of Perugia and close to the small town of Norcia.

Monks at the monastery of San Benedetto, an international Benedictine community in Norcia, tweeted an image of the Basilica of St Benedict destroyed by the earthquake.

They said that people were trapped in the main square as nearby buildings were liable to collapse.

"The monks are all safe, but our hearts go immediately to those affected, and the priests of the monastery are searching for any who may need the Last Rites," the monks said later in a statement.

Norcia is believed to be the birthplace of St Benedict.
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