The Slovenia Times

WWII-era bomb safely defused in Nova Gorica


A 250-kilogram WWII-era bomb found in the western city of Nova Gorica was successfully defused on 23 July, allowing the residents on the Slovenian and Italian sides of the border to return to their homes.

Two bomb technicians managed to safely remove both mechanical fuses within an hour. If they failed, they would have had to attempt to deactivate the device by opening it from a distance where the bomb, which contained around 100 kg of explosive, could burn or even explode.

A 30-second siren signalled the end of danger for around 3,300 residents on both sides of the border, meaning they were able to return home.

"The public part of the effort to deactivate the aerial bomb is over," the city of Nova Gorica declared less than an hour after the deactivation started at 10am.

Evacuation affected an area within a 400-metre radius in Slovenia and 600 metres in Italy.

"We're relieved now, because there is always a bit of tension at times like this," Nova Gorica Mayor Samo Turel said when the deactivation effort was over.

He congratulated "the guys of the Unexploded Ordnance Disposal unit who managed to remove both fuses from the aerial bomb according to plan".

More than 150 people from various units and services took part in the effort, and "everything ran smoothly", Turel said.

The area of Nova Gorica train station was bombed several times by the allies just before the end of WWII and there could be more unexploded ordnance there. The area will be surveyed further for potential explosives.

A similar bomb was found in Maribor in the north-east in 2022 and was successfully deactivated.

Unexploded ordnance finds are not a rarity in Slovenia. In the western region of Primorska most stem from the First World War, the area being the site of battles between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies along the Isonzo Front.

Several aerial bombs have been found in Maribor, a city occupied by the Nazis in the Second World War that was bombed by the allies in 1944 and 1945. In 1998 three 500 kg bombs were discovered during the construction of a Maribor shopping centre.


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