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Lourdes shrines reopen after bomb scare

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-15

A bomb scare forced the evacuation of Roman Catholic shrines at Lourdes in France on Sunday as some 30,000 worshippers celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. Police said they received a warning that four bombs were set to go off around 3pm.

REUTERS - A telephoned bomb warning caused French police to evacuate the Catholic shrine of Lourdes where around 30,000 pilgrims had gathered on Sunday.

Bomb disposal experts were on the scene after the anonymous tip-off to police that four bombs would explode on the site at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), a spokesman for the shrine told Reuters.

Even though the specified time passed without any explosion, police said it was too early to say whether it was a hoax or a real threat until sniffer dogs and disposal experts had finished their job.

The pilgrims, who were attending services celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, were led to safety.

"Everything is taking place in an orderly manner," the spokesman said.

"We are taking precautionary measures. It is too early to say whether (the tip-off) carries the trace of an unstable person or a real threat."

The phone warning came at around 11.30 a.m. (0930 GMT).

The Lourdes shrine is in southwestern France, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a young shepherdess in the 19th century. Assumption day is one of the busiest days of the year for Lourdes.


Date created : 2010-08-15