Strong Earthquake, Measuring 5.1 Richter, Shakes Athens

The epicenter of the earthquake was located near western Athens, and it was felt throughout the Greek capital and as far away as the Peloponnese.

Updated at 17.10

A strong earthquake hit the Greek capital shortly before 2.30 p.m. on Friday.

The tremor had a magnitude of 5.1 on the Richter scale, according to Greek authorities.

Two old buildings reportedly collapsed in two districts of Athens but there were no reports of any serious injuries.

The Seismological Center of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki said the quake, which struck at 2:13 p.m., was close to the surface, which explains why it was widely felt in the Greek capital.

The epicenter was in Magoula, just 22 kilometers northwest of Athens.

The tremor prompted many employees to flee their offices and gather in parks and other open areas in several parts of the city.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said authorities had received reports that two old houses collapsed in Drapetsona and Petralona, while several buildings in Piraeus, Egaleo and Monastiraki suffered minor damages on their facades.

The tremor sparked limited power cuts around Athens and mobile phone services experienced temporary problems due to network overload.

Petsas said plaster fell off the walls at the Parliament building and inside the Athens Prosecutor’s Office, and that the state is ready to respond to any problems.

The fire brigade said it received 12 calls about people trapped in elevators.

The main event was followed by several aftershocks, two of which were large enough to be felt around the city.

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