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+++ Powerful earthquake strikes central Italy - live updates +++

A fresh earthquake has rocked central and southern Italy, with tremors felt in Rome and other cities across the country. The powerful quake comes days after a series of tremors hit the region. Read the latest here.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 struck central Italy on Sunday morning; just four days after three successive quakes shook the same area, according to the US Geological Survey. A number of people have been injured, said Italy's Civil Protection Department. Many residents had been evacuated out of unstable buildings before the latest tremor.

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).

12:50 An aftershock with a 4.6 magnitude hits the area around Italy's Norcia just hours after the stronger 6.6 tremor.

10:40 The mayor of Tolentino in Italy's Marche region, Guiseppe Pezzanesi, says his town had "suffered our blackest day yet" after repeated quakes shook the region.

"The damage is irreparable. There are thousands of people in the streets, terrified, crying," he said. "Let's hope that is the end of it, the people are on their knees psychologically."

10:28The latest earthquake knocked down a church tower in Amatrice, the tourist town that bore the brunt of destruction in the August tremor. The structure survived the deadly seismic event two months ago.

10:00 Speaking to DW, reporter Philip Willan described the Sunday morning tremor as an "alarming experience."

"I was actually woken up by the earthquake because my bed was shaking backwards and forwards,"  he told DW from Rome.

Watch video 03:06

Rome-based journalist Philip Willan talks to DW following Italy earthquake

9:50 People are trapped in the main square of the Umbrian town of Norcia as "nearby buildings may collapse," according to local monks.

9:25"Dozens of people were lightly injured, except one person who is reported to be in more serious condition," Civil Protection Chief Fabrizio Curcio said at a press conference hours after the quake.

9:01 Three people were rescued from rubble in the town of Ussita, according to state broadcaster RAI.

8:55 Monks of the Monastero di San Benedetto monastery in the heavy-hit Norcia put out a press release saying they are safe, but describing the town's 14th century basilica as "flattened." The priests are looking for "any who may need the Last Rites," they added.

Italien Erdbeben (picture-alliance/AP Photo/Sky Italia )

Priests and nuns fled their residences in Norcia on Sunday morning (image taken from video)

8:48 No deaths have so far been reported, but several people were injured in the Sunday earthquake, according to Italian authorities. Many roads have been closed.

07:59 The latest tremor brought down buildings in several towns and emergency crews were checking for causalities, said Italy's Civil Protection department.

"We are trying to understand if people are under the rubble," said Cesare Spuri, the regional head of the civil protection authority.

7:37 "Everything collapsed. I can see columns of smoke, it's a disaster, a disaster," Marco Rinaldi, the mayor of the village of Ussita, which also suffered severe destruction last week, told journalists. 

"I was sleeping in my car, I saw hell break out," he was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying.

7:30 The quake brought down the historic St. Benedict Basilica in the Umbrian town of Norcia, near the epicenter in the mountainous region.

06:54 The US Geological Survey said the Sunday tremor was centered some 68 km (42 miles) east-southeast of the city of Perugia or some 130 kilometers (82 miles) northeast of  Rome. It originated in the same area as the Wednesday quakes, where the most powerful tremor reached a magnitude of 6.1.

The series of quakes comes two months after a deadly seismic event killed hundreds in the historic city of Amatrice and the surrounding towns.

 

dj/jlw (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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