At least four Israeli citizens believed to be in the mountainous region northeast of Rome were unaccounted for Monday morning following a major 6.3-magnitude earthquake.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry made the announcement after early casualty reports from Italian officials said that at least 50 people were killed when the quake struck near the city of L'Aquila, some 90 kilometers from Rome, at 3:32 a.m. local time.

Rabbi Shalom D. Hazan, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Rome, said that Jewish community officials were still sorting through reports from the affected region.

The city's Chabad Houses, enmeshed in preparations for the upcoming holiday of Passover, were ready to send crews to assist if necessary, he said. The rabbi added that jolts and tremors were felt throughout the night, but that the Italian capital appeared to not have sustained much damage.

"This was a very big earthquake," said Hazan. "But in Rome, we just felt the side effects. We're trying to find out as much information as we can right now.

"It's still very confusing," he said. "If we have knowledge of anything we can do, we will."

According to The Associated Press, Agostino Miozzo, an official with the Italian Civil Protection Department, told Sky Italia that between 10,000 and 15,000 buildings were damaged in the quake.

"This means that we'll have several thousand people to assist over the next few weeks and months," he said. "Our goal is to give shelter to all by tonight."

L'Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente said that some 100,000 people had left their homes in the medieval city.

In a report on its Web site, the U.S. Geological Survey attributed the earthquake to normal rock movements in the region. In 1997, a 6.0-magnitute tremblor struck 85 kilometers northwest of the most recent quake, killing 11 people and destroying approximately 80,000 homes.

"Thank G‑d, we're alright," Hazan said from Rome. "But a lot of people have died."