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Birmingham security alert lifted, suspect device harmless

July 10, 2005 15:55 IST

The police on Sunday lifted the security alert on Britain's second city Birmingham, hours after conducting controlled explosions and evacuating upto 30,000 people to inspect a suspicious package that was found to be harmless.

They also ruled out any links between security operations in Birmingham since Saturday night and Thursday's
deadly terror blasts in London that killed at least 50 people.

The alert and evacuation of the 30,000 people from the city's entertainment district followed intelligence warnings of a 'substantial threat'.

Bomb squads conducted four controlled explosions in a bus near the Square Peg pub on Corporation Street, but officers said the item destroyed had not posed a threat.

They also declared that a suspect package at the Travelodge hotel on Broad Street was not a 'credible device'.

People who were sleeping over in the campus of Aston University have begun going back home after the lifting
of the 10-hour long alert, during which police cordoned off the Broad Street entertainment district and the city's Chinese
quarter teeming with bars, theatres, restaurants and hotels.

Workers and residents have also returned to the city centre.

Earlier, Stuart Hyde of West Midlands Police had said the decision to evacuate the city was made 'after careful
analysis and consideration'.

"I don't believe that the incident that we are dealing with this evening is connected with the events of July 7 in London. I want to make that pretty clear," he told reporters on Saturday.

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