Italy struck by 6.2 magnitude earthquake

At least 21 people dead and many more trapped when Italy was shaken by massive earthquake overnight.

Rachel Kaplan,

Aftermath of the earthquake in Amatrice, Italy
Aftermath of the earthquake in Amatrice, Italy

A powerful earthquake shattered central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday, causing buildings to collapse, and with reports of at least 21 dead.

In one case, an elderly couple was reportedly found lifeless after their home collapsed around them in Pescara del Tronto, east of the quake epicenter.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Accumoli announced that he saw no signs of life from a family of four buried under the rubble there.

The Foreign Ministry still doesn't know if any Israelis are among the wounded or dead.

The 6.2 magnitude earthuake rippled out from near the town of Norcia, in the Umbria region, at 3:36 a.m. local time. About an hour later, a 5.5 magnitude aftershock rocked the same region.

The 6-mile deep earthquake woke people in Rome, 170 kilometers (106 miles) away.

"Half the town is gone," explained Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of Amatrice, to RAI state news. "There are people under the rubble...There's been a landslide and a bridge might collapse."

Amatrice this morning (Reuters)

There are still people reportedly trapped under rubble accross Italy. Emergency crews are working to save the injured and restore the country.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has sent his condolences to the Italian people, and wished the injured of the earthquake a speedy recovery. He has informed Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of his intent to send Israeli emergency rescue crews to assist in the disaster relief.

The Mediterranean country has a long history of earthquakes. In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the Aquila region left more than 300 dead.

A series of quakes in May 2012 left 23 people dead and 14,000 others homeless.