updated 7/3/2007 12:01:54 PM ET 2007-07-03T16:01:54

The discovery of a man carrying two bags and walking on the runway at Rome's Ciampino airport led to an extended overnight shutdown and flight cancellations and delays Tuesday morning.

The 31-year-old Eritrean was spotted on the runway Monday evening by the pilot of a cargo plane that was preparing for takeoff, police at the airport said. Police detained the man and blew up his bags with a controlled explosion, but nothing suspicious was found in them.

Officials said it was not yet clear how and why the man entered the fenced airport, a hub for low-cost airlines. The airport also has a military wing used by the air force as well as Italian and foreign dignitaries on state visits. The man was released after being reported to prosecutors for violating security measures, police said.

Ciampino, which usually shuts down at night, was closed following the incident around 9 p.m. (1900GMT) and reopened only after police completed a sweep of the airport. At least four low-cost flights were canceled and others delayed Tuesday morning before the airport reopened at 7:40 a.m. (0540GMT), instead of the usual 6:00 a.m.

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