Italian city evacuates 54,000 people to defuse WW2 bomb

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Around 54,000 people were evacuated from the southern Italian city of Brindisi on Sunday as experts worked to defuse a World War Two bomb, authorities said.

Corriere della Sera daily said the operation was the biggest peacetime evacuation in Italy, with more than 60 percent of the city’s residents forced to vacate a “red zone” in a radius of 1,617 metres from where the bomb was found.

The British bomb, believed to have been dropped on the city in 1941, is one meter long and contains 40 kgs of dynamite, authorities said. It was found by chance last month during refurbishment works at a cinema theatre.

The city’s airport, train station, two hospitals and a prison were shut down and evacuated as part of the operation, which authorities expect to be completed around lunchtime.

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