Italian shoppers spooked by double bomb scare

Christmas shoppers and tourists were caught up in two separate bomb scares in the northern Italian city of Turin on Sunday, after anonymous callers said a museum and shopping centre would be hit.

Italian shoppers spooked by double bomb scare
The Piazza Castello in Turin. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Police evacuated the historic Mole Antonelliana building which houses the National Museum of Cinema after receiving a tip-off purportedly from a supporter of the Islamic State jihadist group that a device would explode mid-morning.

Streets were sealed off around the 19th-century building, a famous Turin monument, but a bomb disposal squad declared the threat a hoax after a thorough search of the premises turned up nothing.

Before the all clear could be given, a second call to police warned of a bomb planted at a shopping centre on the outskirts of the city, packed with thousands of people doing their Christmas shopping.

The call was traced to a phone-box in the Lingotto neighbourhood, the same area of the city the first call came from. Police decided not to evacuate but perform a sweep of the shopping centre, which again found nothing.

A bomb squad closed off streets in Lingotto last week amid reports of an explosive device in front of a shop which turned out to be fake, media reports said.