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Earthquake hits near the Greek capital, Athens

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By Lauren Chadwick  & Pantelis Petrakis
Earthquake hits near the Greek capital, Athens
Copyright  REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook a suburb 23 kilometres northwest of Athens on Friday, the Institute of Geodynamics in Athens said. The earthquake occurred around 2:13 pm local time on Friday afternoon.

People in the Greek capital reportedly said they felt a strong earthquake. People ran out of buildings.

Electricity was restored to Peristeri and Haidari, located northwest of Athens, while in the centre of Athens there were problems in telecommunications.

Multiple aftershocks in the same area followed ranging from 2.5 to 4.4 on the Richter scale. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said 4 million inhabitants could potentially feel the earthquake.

Those in Greece commented on social media in the aftermath that it was very strong and that people felt heavy shaking. There was heavy traffic in Athens after the earthquake.

A government spokesperson said that two abandoned buildings in the centre and to the west of Athens had collapsed, but there were no reported injuries.

The emergency services said that two women were slightly injured and that many people reported having panic attacks.

The epicentre of the earthquake was close to that of the earthquake that hit Athens in 1999, that killed over 140 people.