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A meteorite streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, raining fireballs over a vast area and causing a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people.

A traffic camera captured the extremely rare moment when it passed over Chelyabinsk, a city some 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow.

People heading to work in the city heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt the shock wave.

Car alarms went off, thousands of windows shattered and mobile phone networks were disrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteorite explosion also unleashed a sonic boom.

No deaths were reported but some 1,200 people were injured, at least 200 of them children, and most from shards of glass.

The fireball left fragments as far away as Cherbakul in Russia’s Ural Mountains, hitting the area with the power of an atomic bomb.

The European Space Agency said its experts confirmed there was no connection with an asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool that passed Earth on Friday night.

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