LITTLE ROCK - Tornadoes ripped through the south-central United States on Sunday, killing at least 12 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma and wiping out entire neighborhoods of homes, according to officials, as rescue workers searched in darkness for survivors.

A spokesman for the Faulkner County Sheriff's office had said there was a "mass casualty situation", and numerous injuries were reported. TV footage showed houses ripped off their foundations, with cars toppled on top of the rubble.

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