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Earthquake Kills 226 in Morocco - 2004-02-24


Morocco's official news agency says 226 people died in a powerful earthquake that hit the northern part of the country early today (Tuesday).

Local officials and rescue workers say the death toll could be much higher as teams clear rubble and reach isolated villages in the devastated region around the Mediterranean port city of Al Hoceima, some 300-kilometers northeast of the capital, Rabat.

Local officials say at least one village (Anit Kamra) was completely destroyed and houses collapsed in several others. Many houses in the region were built of mud bricks.

U.S. geological officials say the quake measured six-point-five on the Richter scale and was centered in the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Morocco from the southern tip of Spain.

Officials say today's quake is the strongest to hit the region in 10 years.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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