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15 Dec, 2019 12:32

‘Largest PEACETIME evacuation’ kicks off in Italy as unexploded WWII bomb puts 54,000 at risk

‘Largest PEACETIME evacuation’ kicks off in Italy as unexploded WWII bomb puts 54,000 at risk

An unparalleled evacuation operation is underway in Italy’s southern city of Brindisi, after a heavy British bomb was found near a local cinema. This is the second bomb discovery that has put Italians on alert in just one month.

Roughly 54,000 people were told to leave the so-called “red zone” on Sunday morning as local authorities and the military prepared to defuse a 500-pound bomb which Britain's Royal Air Force dropped on the city in 1941.

Over 60 percent of locals were affected by the evacuation, which turns out to be the largest since the war, according to Corriere della Serra.

All buildings inside the ‘red zone’ were evacuated as well, including hospitals, schools and even prison. More than 1,000 police officers and 250 volunteers were on hand to ensure safety in Brindisi, preventing possible acts of looting in the deserted city.

Officials feared that disarming the bomb in Brindisi was far more difficult that had been the case on previous occasions. One of its
activation devices was reportedly damaged, increasing the risk of explosion, the newspaper reported.

The military dispatched an ordnance disposal team to inspect the bomb, but most of the job was done by a robot, which used its mechanical arm to defuse it. Soldiers have also built a protective barrier around the bomb to decrease the power of the blast if it were to occur.

Defusing the bomb took around 40 minutes but went smoothly, local media reported. Later in the day, Brindisi authorities expect to open up the city streets again, and allow residents to return to their homes.

Brindisi has always played an important role due to its strategic south-eastern position on the Italian peninsula. During the Second
World War, it was used as a military port by fascist Italy’s Navy, and was relentlessly bombed by Allied forces. 

Sunday’s evacuation comes two weeks after over 10,000 people were evacuated in Turin. The bomb that caused the fuss on that occasion was also a 500-pound British munition. According to the authorities, it contained 65kg (140lbs) of TNT.

Also on rt.com Over 10,000 evacuated in Turin, Italy over British bomb dropped during WWII

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