© Reuters
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the Northern Italian city of Turin.
A discovery of a 500-pound British WWII bomb prompted an urgent evacuation of thousands of people from the historic center of the Italian northern city of Turin, while tens of thousands more were told to stay put.

All residents living in the 'red zone' around Turin's Nizza Street where the bomb was found were told to leave their homes and evacuate the area between 7am and 4pm (local time). Another 50,000 were asked to either leave their homes in advance or stay inside for the entire period while the bomb was defused.

Both airspace over the city and the nearby Porta Nuova train station were also shut down during the operation.

The bomb that caused the fuss was a 500-pound British munition dropped on the city some 70 years ago. According to the authorities, it contained 65kg (140lbs) of TNT.

Elvio Pascale, an army officer who coordinated the operation, said the most delicate part of defusing could take up to seven hours. Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino was also present at the site.

According to some local media reports, soldiers were deployed to patrol the evacuated areas to prevent theft and looting. Eventually, the bomb was defused faster than expected and the locals were allowed to return to their homes.