Tens of thousands evacuated in Italy as WWII bomb defused

Other countries have found British bombs from WWII too. Above, a 250 kg British bomb found in France. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 December 2019

Tens of thousands evacuated in Italy as WWII bomb defused

  • The bomb was found during work on a cinema
  • Residents within a 1.5-km radius were evacuated

ROME: Around 54,000 people were evacuated from the southern Italian city of Brindisi on Sunday as experts worked to defuse a World War II bomb, in the largest operation of its kind in the country, media said.
The British bomb, one-meter long and weighing 200 kilograms, was found on November 2 during work on a cinema.
The device was damaged by the workers’ equipment, making the operation trickier.
All residents within a 1.5-kilometer radius were evacuated, and gas supplies were cut in homes within 500 meters of the site.
Some air traffic and rail services were also suspended.
More than 1,000 members of the security forces and around 250 volunteers took part in the evacuation operation.
The AGI news agency said the evacuation of more than half Brindisi’s population of some 87,000 began on Saturday with the transfer of 217 prisoners to other detention facilities.


Troops from Niger and France hunt for killers of aid workers in Niger nature reserve

The wreckage of the car where six French aid workers, their local guide and the driver were killed by unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles in an area of southwestern Niger. (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2020

Troops from Niger and France hunt for killers of aid workers in Niger nature reserve

  • Attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group of aid workers as they drove through the giraffe reserve
  • France has 5,100 troops deployed in the arid region south of the Sahara desert

NIAMEY: French and Nigerien soldiers searched through a giraffe reserve and the surrounding area in Niger on Monday for traces of the gunmen who killed six French aid workers, a French military source said.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor also opened an investigation into the incident, in which attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group as it drove through the reserve located 65 km (40 miles) from the capital Niamey — an area considered safe by the Niger government.
The French aid workers were employed by the charity ACTED. A local driver working for the relief group and a guide were also killed. ACTED called the murders “senseless and cowardly.”
“This heinous crime must not go unpunished, nor will it distract us from our commitment to support the people of Niger,” said ACTED, which has worked to help vulnerable populations in the country since 2010.
No one has claimed responsibility for the assault. But France and other countries have warned people against traveling to parts of Niger where militants including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Daesh operate.
“Military operations are ongoing today,” the military source said.
In the clearest sign yet that France believes a militant group was behind the attack, the office of France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said it was launching an investigation on suspicion of the involvement of a terrorist group.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he shared their families’ grief. “Our determination to combat armed terrorist groups is resolute. The fight continues,” Macron tweeted.
The reserve southeast of Niamey is home to West Africa’s last sizeable population of giraffe in the wild. In the wet season, thick green acacia bushes dot the flat, sandy plains.
It is a popular attraction in Niger, a vast country that borders seven states in an unstable region including Libya, Mali, Chad, Algeria and Nigeria.
France, a former colonial power in the region, has 5,100 troops deployed in the arid region south of the Sahara desert since 2013. The United States also has soldiers based in Niger.
Nonetheless, militant violence has been on the rise.