Lourdes evacuated after bomb threat

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The Independent Online

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

Bomb disposal experts were on the scene after the anonymous tip-off to police that four bombs would explode on the site. The pilgrims were gathered for the feast day of the Assumption, one of the busiest days at the shrine.

A police 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 Lourdes shrine is where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a young shepherdess in the 19th century.

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