Strong 6.8 magnitude quake strikes off Greece

The earthquake struck off Greece's western coast near the tourist island of Zakynthos

Attention was focused on the island of Zakynthos, where reports indicated power was out.

More than 35 aftershocks were recorded by 8 am local time (0500 GMT), about six hours after the quake occurred, the country's civil protection agency said.

Another two less strong shocks hit Zante just before and shortly after the magnitude 6.8 one.

The tremor was felt strongly throughout western Greece as far as Athens, as well as in Albania, Italy, Libya and Malta.

Dozens of aftershocks have rattled the Ionian island of Zakynthos and regions further afield following a powerful quake on Friday morning.

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Three people have been taken to hospital but are being treated for minor injuries, Greek authorities have said.

The US Geological Survey says a strong quake of magnitude 6.8 struck off Greece early today.

"We are not facing any particular problems", Zakynthos Mayor Pavlos Kolokotsas told Greek state broadcaster ERT. "Calm is being restored".

Tourists on the popular vacation island were forced to evacuate their hotels in the middle of the night after the quake hit, Sky News reported.

The US Geological Survey had reported a 6.8 magnitude quake and there were dozens of aftershocks of 5.4 magnitude.

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The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) has reported a change in sea level, confirming the possibility of a tsunami.

Greece suffers from thousands of earthquakes per year, due to the area lying on one of the world's most quake prone regions.

A major 6.8 natural disaster in Greece at 12.54 am local time is not expected to cause damage.

Zakynthos has had severe earthquakes in the past, and as a result has a strict building safety code.

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