Italy: Thousands evacuated for World War II bomb disposal | News | DW | 20.10.2019
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Italy: Thousands evacuated for World War II bomb disposal

Experts in the northern city of Bolzano were able to remove the bomb and carry out a controlled explosion. The incident forced 4,000 people to leave their homes and shut down part of one of Europe's key highways.

Thousands of people had to evacuate their homes in Bolzano, Italy, on Sunday, as experts removed a World War II-era bomb that had been discovered in the city center. Neutralizing the explosive also forced authorities in the northern province of South Tyrol to close down a section of one of Europe's busiest highways.

The bomb was uncovered by construction workers digging in the South Tyrolean capital's central Piazza Verdi. Police ordered some 4,000 people who lived near Piazza Verdi to leave their homes for several hours on Sunday morning, while 60,000 more living slightly further away from the area were told to stay put in their apartments.

Officials also blocked off part of the A22 motorway known as the Brenner highway, as it runs through the Brenner Pass, one of the few connections through the Alps from Austria into northeastern Italy.

The bomb was removed from Bolzano (also known by its German name, Bozen) and brought to a remote location for a controlled explosion.

Unexploded ordnances are still a problem throughout Europe, especially in the UK and Germany. About 2,000 tons of World War II munitions are found in Germany every year. Just in Berlin, 1.8 million pieces of ordnance have been defused since 1947.

While most of the undiscovered explosives in Italy are believed to be near the border with Austria, in July, 10 unexploded bombs dropped by the Allied Forces were found during an archaeological dig at Pompeii.

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