Lourdes Catholic Shrine Reopens After Hoax Bomb Scare

A hoax bomb threat forced the temporary evacuation of the shrine at Lourdes in southern France on Sunday after a man called local police and said four explosive devices had been planted at the religious site. "The call came in around noon from a telephone box from a man with a strong Mediterranean accent," the regional prefect, a state representative and police chief, Rene Bidal told the AFP news agency. "We had to take the threat seriously." Local police say they will investigate the tip off itself only after sniffer dogs and disposal experts have finished their work. The site was reopened for a procession at 5:00 pm local time after bomb squad officers searched the various shrines and found no signs of explosives. Some 30,000 worshippers had flocked to Lourdes on one of the busiest days of the year for the pilgrimage site.