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Italy holds day of mourning for earthquake victims


Italy observed a "National Day of Mourning" on Saturday as the country held a mass funeral Saturday for 35 of the 290 people known to have died in the powerful earthquake that hit last week.

The death toll rose to 290 from 281 overnight. That number is expected to grow.

The coffin of 9-year-old Giulia Rinaldo, is carried outside the gymnasium at the end of the state funeral service in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016. Funerals for some victims took place on Friday, while those for many others are expected in the coming days. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The mass was held in the town of Ascoli Piceno.

The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, and other leaders were among hundreds who showed up to mourn the dead.

Hundreds more stood outside.

Together, above all, we will be able to restore life to our communities.
Giovanni D'Ercole, local bishop

Giovanni D'Ercole, a local bishop, urged mourners to rebuild their communities.

"Don't be afraid to cry out your suffering I have seen a lot of this but please do not lose courage," he told them.

"Only together can we rebuild our houses and our churches."

A man and woman comfort each other in front of a collapsed house, in Amatrice, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. Rescue crews have raced against time since a devastating earthquake leveled three towns in central Italy last Wednesday Aug. 23, leaving hundreds dead. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The magnitude 6.2 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday and was felt across central Italy, killing at least 290 people and injuring nearly 400.

The death toll has steadily risen as rescue workers continue to find bodies buried in rubble.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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