Army detonates WW2 bomb from dried Italian river

STORY: Italy has been facing the worst drought in 70 years, and last month declared a state of emergency for areas surrounding the Po, which accounts for roughly a third of the country's agricultural production.

Near the small northern town of Borgo Virgilio, close to the city of Mantua, the army detonated a 1,000-pound bomb dating back to World War Two that had been discovered on July 25.

"The bomb was found by fishermen on the bank of the Po river due to a decrease in water levels caused by drought," Colonel Marco Nasi said.

The army said in a statement that in order to conduct the operation safely, about 3,000 people living in the area of Borgo had to be evacuated.

On top of that, the area's airspace was shut down, and navigation along that stretch of the river as well as traffic on a railway line and state road close by were prohibited.

"At first, someone said they would not move, but in the last few days, we think we have convinced everyone," Borgo Virgilio mayor Francesco Aporti said.

Bomb disposal engineers removed the fuse from the U.S.-manufactured device, which contained 240 kilograms of explosive, between 0700 and 0900 GMT.

Afterwards, the bomb squads, escorted by local police, transferred the device to a quarry up north in the municipality of Medole, where it was destroyed.

Decontamination operations ended at 1400 GMT, the army added.