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Lourdes shrine in Italy evacuated after bomb warning

world Updated: Aug 15, 2010 18:51 IST

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 pm (1300 GMT), a spokesman told Reuters.

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.

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.