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story.lead_photo.caption Soldiers remove debris Saturday from a house that was damaged by an earthquake in Pandeglang, Indonesia.

6.8 quake in Indonesia kills 4 people

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong earthquake that hit off Java island killed four people and damaged more than 200 houses, swaying buildings as far away as Indonesia’s capital, officials said Saturday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Friday night’s magnitude-6.8 quake was centered 94 miles from Banten province off Java’s southwest coast.

Agus Wibowo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesman, said four people died while fleeing to safety in Banten and West Java. Four others were injured.

Wibowo said 223 houses were damaged, mostly in Banten’s Pandeglang region, where a deadly tsunami struck without warning in December.

Hundreds of people who had fled to temporary shelters returned home, Wibowo said.

The quake was felt in Jakarta, the capital, where buildings swayed for nearly a minute. Television footage showed workers and residents running out of high-rise buildings in the city.

Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because of its location along the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Afghan civilian casualties spike in July

KABUL, Afghanistan — July saw the highest number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in a single month since 2017, the U.N. mission said Saturday.

Its preliminary findings indicate more than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded, mainly as a result of a spike in casualties from insurgent attacks. It did not provide a breakdown of deaths and injuries but said the overall number was the highest for a single month since May 2017.

It said more than 50% of casualties were caused by bombings. A roadside bomb tore through a bus in western Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 32 people. An attack on the office of the Afghan president’s running mate last month killed at least 20 people. The target of the attack, former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, escaped unharmed. No one has claimed either attack.

The Taliban, who effectively control half the country, carry out daily attacks on security forces and government targets that often kill or wound civilians. An Islamic State affiliate also operates in Afghanistan, targeting security forces as well as minority Shiites.

A roadside bomb in the western Herat province killed a district chief and another individual on Saturday, according to police spokesman Farzad Farotan, who said five others were wounded in the blast. In the southern city of Kandahar, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle wounded at least eight civilians, according to provincial police spokesman Jamal Naser Barekzai. No one claimed either attack.

6 Italians jailed in deadly stampede

MILAN — Italian police on Saturday arrested six men accused of using pepper spray to carry out thefts at a concert for teens, triggering a stampede that killed six people at a venue near the Adriatic coastal city of Ancona last year.

The stampede in December killed five teens, ranging in age from 14 to 16, and a 39-year-old mother accompanying her daughter to a concert by a popular Italian singer, Sfera Ebbasta.

Prosecutor Monica Garulli told reporters that the six suspects, who are 19 to 22, were part of a gang based in the northern city of Modena that hit nightclubs and other venues in northern and central Italy with the aim of robbing unsuspecting clubgoers. She said the incident on Dec. 8 was the last time they appeared to have used pepper spray, but that they had continued to operate.

The six suspects are under investigation of manslaughter and of causing injury to 197 others. The men, along with a seventh gang member, also are being investigated on association with the intent to carry out robberies.

Garulli said one of the suspects robbed someone who had stopped to give aid to an injured person.

Prosecutors said an oversold venue and security lapses also contributed to the deaths, which are the focus of another investigation.

Philippine boats capsize; 7 people dead

MANILA, Philippines — At least seven people died and 31 others were rescued when three ferryboats separately capsized in bad weather Saturday between two central Philippine island provinces, the coast guard said.

Police said at least seven people were missing after the inter-island ferries either turned over or sank in rough seas, wind and rain between Guimaras and Iloilo provinces. A search by the coast guard, police and villagers was underway.

Six women and a man died in the incidents, coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said, adding that one of the ferryboats, M/B Chichi, was carrying at least 42 passengers. Another boat, M/B Keizha, reportedly had four crewmen on board, while the third ferry, M/B Jenny, carried an unspecified number of people who were rescued and taken on board a coast guard ship, he said.

Forecasters have warned of heavy monsoon rains and thunderstorms amid a brewing storm about 544 miles off the country’s eastern coast.

Photo by AP
Rescuers, in this photo provided by the Philippines Red Cross, search the debris Saturday from a ferry boat that capsized between two central Philippines islands.

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