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Meteorite falls in Russia injuring almost one thousand people

In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed after a meteorite exploded over in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Oleg Kargapolov, Chelyabinsk.ru)

Nearly one-thousand people have been injured after a meteor streaked through the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains — creating sonic blasts that shattered countless windows.

The Russian Academy of Sciences says the meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons — entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54-thousand kilometres per hour shattered about 30 to 50 kilometres above the ground.

The academy says it released the energy of several kilotons over Chelyabinsk, a city of one million.

Residents say there was panic because people had no idea what was happening.

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City officials say the explosions broke an estimated 100-thousand square meters of glass and three-thousand buildings were damaged.

Health officials say 985 people asked for medical help — most hurt by shards of glass.

The Interfax news agency reports 43 were hospitalized.

The meteor hit less than a day before the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid to the Earth — about 28-thousand kilometres.

But the European Space Agency says its experts have determined there is no connection.