updated 9/17/2006 11:01:07 PM ET 2006-09-18T03:01:07

Some 20,000 residents of Nantes, one of the largest cities on France’s Atlantic coast, were evacuated from their homes Sunday while experts defused an unexploded Allied bomb from World War II.

The 550-pound bomb was discovered during construction at a medical school in the center of Nantes. It was successfully defused and taken by truck to a military base, where it was to be fully neutralized.

Police ordered all people living in a 540-yard radius of the bomb to leave their homes by early Sunday, but the three-hour-long operation was held up by a handful of people who refused to leave, police of the Loire-Atlantique region said.

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