Egypt's most senior Muslim cleric has expressed condolences over the devastating earthquake in central Italy and offered prayers for the victims.
"The most sincere condolences to Italy's government and people," wrote Ahmad al-Tayyeb, chief imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque in a statement on Thursday.
"I ask almighty God to give the families of victims fortitude and strength of spirit, to bless the injured and wish them a rapid recovery," Tayyeb continued.
"May those people who are still missing be found unharmed,"added the head of the highest seat of Sunni learning.
Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was among world leaders who sent messages of solidarity and condolence to Italy over the earthquake that struck the Apennine mountains at 3.36 am on Wednesday.
A total of 241 people were confirmed dead in the magnitude 6.2 quake in the border region between Lazio, Umbria and Marche regions, Italy's civil protection agency said on Thursday.
Officials expect the death-toll to rise from the quake which destroyed several mountainside towns including Pescara del Tronto and Amatrice, injured hundreds of people and left thousands homeless.
The quake epicentre was near Accumoli in the northern Lazio province of Rieti, an area popular with holiday-makers.
Populations increase in the area by up to tenfold in the summer, making it hard to know the precise number of victims.