updated 1/16/2008 4:06:54 PM ET 2008-01-16T21:06:54

A regional airport was evacuated and locked down for three hours because an inactive hand grenade was found in a traveler's carry-on bag.

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The grenade, which had been emptied of explosive and disarmed so it could be used for decoration or display, was found Tuesday by security screeners at Hays Regional Airport.

"They moved the bag from the terminal and, upon further inspection, determined what looked like a grenade was a grenade, but it was inert," said Assistant Police Chief Philip Hartsfield. "Obviously this item should never have been carried on the airport."

Airport officials said they believe the traveler, who was later allowed to board a flight, had put the grenade in the bag by accident.

Hays is a town of about 20,000 people in northwest Kansas. Its airport is served by regional air carriers.

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