Venice shuts down for WWII-era bomb removal

Venice shuts down for WWII-era bomb removal

A Venice port area was evacuated on Sunday morning as a World War II-era bomb was defused and set to be exploded in the sea.

The operation in the port of Marghera, a mostly industrial area separated from the tourist city by water, required the evacuation of about 3,500 residents beginning in the early morning.

Boat, train and bus traffic was all halted during the operation and planes were prohibited from flying to and from Marco Polo Airport from 8:30am (0730GMT) until 12:30 pm.

The bomb, which weighed about 225 kilos (500 pounds) and contained about 129 kilos of TNT, was discovered during an excavation to fix sewer lines in January.

At mid-morning, authorities said the first two phases of the operation - the evacuation of residents, and the process to strip the fuses from the bombs, had been successfully completed.

Gianluca Dello Monacco, commander of the Army regiment that carried out the work, told Rai24 that the precautions were justified.

"It still carried a high risk of explosion," Dello Monacco said.

Next was the transfer of the bomb on a ship to a remote area in the sea, where it was to be detonated.

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