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One dead after quake strikes Italian holiday island

© AFP | An earthquake hit the popular Italian tourist island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, causing several buildings to collapse on August 21, 2017

ROME (AFP) - 

A 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Italian holiday island of Ischia on Monday, prompting destruction that left at least one dead and seven missing at peak tourist season.

A woman was killed in Casamicciola, which is in the island's north, by debris that fell from a church, Italian media reported. Seven people were also missing after a building collapsed and 25 were slightly injured.

The tremor hit at 8:57 pm (1957 GMT) and came just days ahead of the first anniversary of the 6.0 magnitude quake that killed nearly 300 people in and around Amatrice central Italy.

Firefighters said on Twitter that several buildings on the island were damaged or had collapsed. Ischia's only hospital was also hit and had to be partially evacuated.

Restaurants were packed and many stores were still open when the shaking began, witnesses said on Twitter.

Ischia has been a frequent victim of earthquakes, with its worst dating back over a century. Estimated at a magnitude of 5.8, it killed over 2,000 people in July 1883.

Much of Italy's land mass and some of its surrounding waters are prone to seismic activity with the highest risk concentrated along its mountainous central spine.

Italy straddles the Eurasian and African tectonic plates, making it vulnerable to seismic activity when they move.

© 2017 AFP