Israeli missing in Italian quake


ROME (JTA) — An Israeli student remained missing Monday evening following a devastating earthquake that killed dozens of people and left as many as 50,000 homeless in central Italy.

The quake struck at 3:32 a.m. local time and devastated the town of L’Aquila, located about 60 miles northeast of Rome, and more than two dozen other towns and villages in the mountainous Abruzzi region. More than 90 people were killed and more than 1,500 were injured. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi cancelled a trip to Moscow to visit the quake zone and declared a state of emergency.

Early reports said between four and 10 Israelis were missing, but by late afternoon only one Israeli student remained unaccounted for.

Israel was one of a number of countries to offer aid to Italy. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini, and the Magen David Adom offered aid to the local Red Cross. The Italian Jewish community meanwhile launched an appeal to its members for aid and offered the services of the Jewish hospital in Rome and other health facilities for the wounded.

There is no organized Jewish community in L’Aquila or other quake-hit towns.

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