- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

L’AQUILA, ITALY (AP) - Carabinieri police officials say at least 20 people have died in a powerful earthquake that struck central Italy, collapsing buildings and leaving thousands of people homeless.

Officials say the death toll is likely to rise as rescue crews make their way through the debris.

Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics put the quake’s magnitude at 5.8, though the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 6.3.

Officials said the quake struck about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Rome at 3:32 a.m. local time (0132 GMT). The Civil Protection Department said the epicenter was near the city of L’Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region.

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