Magnitude 4.8 earthquake hits Sicily, some damage, few injuries

CATANIA, Italy - An earthquake measuring magnitude 4.8 hit an area north of Catania on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily early on Wednesday (Dec 26), causing some damage to buildings and a few injuries, officials said.

It hit two days after Etna, Europe's highest and most active volcano, erupted, sending a huge column of ash into the sky and causing the temporary closure of Catania airport on Sicily's eastern coast.

The earthquake hit at 3.19am (10.19 am Singapore time), prompting many people to run out of their homes and sleep in cars.

Television footage showed damage to older buildings in the towns of Santa Venerina and Zafferana Etnea.

At least four people suffered slight injuries from falling masonry as they fled from the homes, officials said.