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IQUIQUE, Chile (AP) — A powerful 7.6-magnitude aftershock hit Chile's far-northern coast late Wednesday night, shaking the same area where a magnitude-8.2 earthquake hit just a day before causing some damage and six deaths.
Chile's Emergency Office and navy issued a tsunami alert and ordered a precautionary evacuation of low-lying areas on the northern coast, meaning many people could be spending another sleepless night away from their homes.
The aftershock caused buildings to shake and people to run out into the streets in the port of Iquique, which was one of the cities that saw some damage from Tuesday night's big quake. But there were no immediate reports of new damage or injuries from the latest tremor, which was one of dozens that have followed the 8.2 quake.
"I was evacuated like all citizens. One can see that the people are prepared," tweeted President Michelle Bachelet, who was in the nearby city of Arica to assess the damage.
The aftershock was centered 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Iquique at a depth of 25 miles (40 kilometers), the U.S Geological Survey said. The USGS initially reported the tremor's magnitude at 7.8, but downgraded it to 7.6.
It was felt across the border in southern Peru, where people in the cities of Tacna and Arequipa reportedly fled buildings in fear.
On Tuesday, authorities reported just six deaths from the initial quake, but said it was possible others could have been killed in older structures made of adobe in remote communities that weren't immediately accessible.
About 2,500 homes were damaged in Alto Hospicio, a poor neighborhood in the hills above Iquique, a city of nearly 200,000 people whose coastal residents joined a mandatory evacuation ahead of a tsunami that rose to only 8 feet (2.5 meters). Iquique's fishermen poked through the aftermath: sunken and damaged boats that could cost millions of dollars to repair and replace.
Still, as President Michelle Bachelet deployed hundreds of anti-riot police and soldiers to prevent looting and round up escaped prisoners, it was clear that the loss of life and property could have been much worse.
The mandatory evacuation lasted for 10 hours in Iquique and Arica, the cities closest to the epicenter, and kept 900,000 people out of their homes along Chile's 2,500-mile (4,000 kilometer) coastline. The order to leave was spread through cellphone text messages and Twitter, and reinforced by blaring sirens in neighborhoods where people regularly practice earthquake drills.
But the system has its shortcomings: the government has yet to install tsunami warning sirens in parts of Arica, leaving authorities to shout orders by megaphone. And fewer than 15 percent of Chileans have downloaded the smartphone application that can alert them to evacuation orders.
Chile is one of the world's most seismic countries and is particularly prone to tsunamis, because of the way the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes cordillera ever higher.
SYDNEY (AP) — A shark killed a woman Thursday as she swam with a group of swimmers off a popular Australian east coast beach, police said.
Christine Armstrong, 63, was taken as she attempted to swim the 600 meters (1,970 feet) between the wharf and beach near the village of Tathra, 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of Sydney, police said in a statement.
The Tathra Wharf to Waves — a swim from the wharf to the beach and back again — is an annual event that attracts hundreds of swimmers each summer.
Local council general manager Leanne Barnes said the victim was part of a group of locals who meet at the beach every morning to swim out to the wharf and back.
"It's a beautiful little coastal village and this is one of those sad things that can happen," Barnes said.
Armstrong's family said in a statement that she had been swimming at the beach for 14 years and had been a trainer at the local volunteer lifeguard club.
"Swimming brought her much joy and many friends," the statement said. "She will be sadly missed by all who loved her, especially by Rob, her husband of 44 years."
Police said a helicopter and boat were being used to search for remains. No details on the species of the shark were released.
Although sharks are common off Australia's coast, the country has averaged fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades. But fatal attacks are becoming more common. Two men were killed in shark attacks off the east and west coasts in the space of a week in November last year. They were the only fatalities for 2013.
Police on Wednesday recovered remains of a 38-year-old man reported missing last week while diving south of the west coast city of Perth. Police said the remains had shark bites, but it was not clear whether the man had been bitten before or after he died.
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A soldier opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide at the same post where more than a dozen people were slain in a 2009 attack, authorities said.
The shooter apparently walked into a building and began firing a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before entering another building and kept shooting.
He was eventually confronted by military police in a parking lot. As he came within 20 feet of an officer, the gunman put his hands up but then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun. The officer drew her own weapon, and the suspect put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger a final time, according to Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, senior officer on the base.
The gunman, who served in Iraq for four months in 2011, had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems. Before the attack, he had been undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, Milley said.
The married suspect had arrived at Fort Hood in February from another base. He was taking medication, and there were reports that he had complained after returning from Iraq about suffering a traumatic brain injury, Milley said. The commander did not elaborate.
The gunman was never wounded in action, according to military records, Milley said.
There was no indication the attack was related to terrorism, Milley said.
The military declined to identify the gunman until his family members had been notified. Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the suspect was named Ivan Lopez but offered no other details.
The gunman's weapon had been purchased recently in the local area and was not registered to be on the base, Milley said.
Late Wednesday, investigators had already started looking into whether his combat experience caused lingering psychological trauma. Among the possibilities they planned to explore was whether a fight or argument on base triggered the attack.
"We have to find all those witnesses, the witnesses to every one of those shootings, and find out what his actions were, and what was said to the victims," said a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case by name.
The official said authorities would begin by speaking with Lopez's wife and expected to search his home and any computers he owned.
The injured were taken to the base hospital and other local hospitals. At least three of the nine patients at Scott and White Hospital in Temple were listed in critical condition.
Wednesday's attack immediately revived memories of the shocking 2009 assault on Fort Hood, which was the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded.
Until an all-clear siren sounded hours after Wednesday's shooting began, relatives of soldiers waited anxiously for news about their loved ones.
"The last two hours have been the most nerve-wracking I've ever felt," said Tayra DeHart, 33, who had earlier heard from her husband that he was safe but was waiting to hear from him again.
Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of the shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She immediately called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover.
"I just want him to come home," Conover said.
President Barack Obama vowed that investigators would get to the bottom of the shooting.
In a hastily arranged statement in Chicago, Obama reflected on the sacrifices that troops stationed at Fort Hood have made — including enduring multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"They serve with valor. They serve with distinction, and when they're at their home base, they need to feel safe," Obama said. "We don't yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again."
The president spoke in the same room of a steakhouse where he had just met with about 25 donors at a previously scheduled fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.
The November 2009 attack happened inside a crowded building where soldiers were waiting to get vaccines and routine paperwork after recently returning from deployments or preparing to go to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year in that mass shooting. He said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.
According to testimony during Hasan's trial last August, Hasan walked inside carrying two weapons and several loaded magazines, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — and opened fire with a handgun.
The rampage ended when Hasan was shot in the back by Fort Hood police officers. He was paralyzed from the waist down and is now on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
After that shooting, the military tightened security at bases nationwide. Those measures included issuing security personnel long-barreled weapons, adding an insider-attack scenario to their training and strengthening ties to local law enforcement. The military also joined an FBI intelligence-sharing program aimed at identifying terror threats.
In September, a former Navy man opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, leaving 13 people dead, including the gunman. After that shooting, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon to review security at all U.S. defense installations worldwide and examine the granting of security clearances that allow access to them.
Asked Wednesday about security improvements in the wake of the shootings, Hagel said, "Obviously when we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not working."