Unexploded WWII bomb causes Italy travel havoc

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An unexploded WWII bomb closed traffic on Italy's busy A1 Motorway for two hours on Wednesday. Photo: Micheal Bolton/Flickr
16:51 CET+01:00
Italy was cut in two this morning as an unexploded WWII bomb was removed from a field in Umbria, stopping traffic on Italy's busy A1 motorway that joins Milan to Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples .

People were evacuated from their homes in the area, while the motorway and railway lines between the Umbrian towns of Orte and Orvieto were closed as the army worked to defuse and remove the 450kg device on Wednesday morning, La Repubblica reported.

By the time the bomb, found on Monday, was safely removed, there were queues of cars a kilometer long in both directions along the motorway.

All train services between Rome and Florence were stopped for two hours.

After being defused, the bomb was taken to a nearby quarry, where it was successfully destroyed via a controlled explosion.

It is difficult to estimate how many unexploded bombs from the Second World War period are still lying under Italian soil, but every year notable examples turn up in gardens and on beaches across the country as a deadly reminder of the war.

Last summer an unexploded bomb closed the Airport of Catania in Sicily.

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During the war, Anglo-American forces dropped some 370,000 tonnes of bombs on Italy, causing 100,000 deaths.

At that time, incidences of fuse failure were much more common and experts estimate that as many as 30 percent of all devices dropped may have failed to detonate. 

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