ROME (AFP) - Around 54,000 people were evacuated from the southern Italian city of Brindisi on Sunday as experts worked to defuse a World War II bomb, in the largest operation of its kind in the country, media said.
The British bomb, one-metre (three-feet) long and weighing 200 kilogrammes (440-pounds), was found on November 2 during work on a cinema.
The device was damaged by the workers’ equipment, making the operation more tricky.
All residents within a 1.5-kilometre radius were evacuated, and gas supplies were cut in homes within 500 metres of the site.
Some air traffic and rail services were also suspended.
More than 1,000 members of the security forces and around 250 volunteers took part in the evacuation operation.
The AGI news agency said the evacuation of more than half Brindisi’s population of some 87,000 began on Saturday with the transfer of 217 prisoners to other detention facilities.