Italian experts defuse WWII bomb in northern city

National News

A view of a deserted road in the northern Italian city of Bolzano, Sunday, Oct. 20,2 019. Italian authorities have evacuated 4,000 people from the center of the northern city of Bolzano to defuse a World War II bomb found during construction. The news agency ANSA said the bomb was defused during a three-hour operation Sunday morning. (G.news/ANSA via AP)

MILAN (AP) — Italian authorities evacuated 4,000 people from the center of the northern city of Bolzano on Sunday to defuse a World War II bomb found during construction.

Three experts defused the 500-pound American bomb during a three-hour operation that also forced 60,000 people to stay in their homes and closed sporting complexes and churches, the news agency ANSA reported.

An alarm signaled the all-clear to reopen the city center just before noon, as well as a nearby north-south highway and rail line both connecting Italy with Austria and Germany.

The bomb was found close to the city’s central cathedral and not far from the train station — the likely wartime target — during excavation work for a new shopping center.

The onlinenews site Neue Suedtiroler Tageszeitung said after being defused, the bomb was brought to a secure site nearby for a controlled explosion.

According to historian Ettore Frangipane, Bolzano, in the northern Alto-Adige region bordering Austria, suffered 13 major World War II bombing raids that damaged 60% of the city and killed 200 people.

Alto Adige was part of a broad swath of northern Italy that remained under Nazi occupation long after Italy’s 1943 surrender to the Allies.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.