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Suspect container at Rome's Colosseum "harmless"

ROME (Reuters) - Italian authorities evacuated Rome's ancient Colosseum after finding a suspicious container on Sunday, but the object was later found to be harmless, a fire official said.

The container, found under one of the amphitheatre's arches, had a wire coming out of it and authorities initially treated it as a bomb, a fire official said.

Firemen soon found the object did not contain any explosives, the official added.

"The alert has been lifted ... The authorities will soon give an order allowing people back in," the official said.

The Colosseum -- famous for hosting bloody gladiatorial fights in the days of the Roman Empire -- pulls in hundreds of thousands of tourists and is usually packed with visitors.

Authorities were tipped off to the device by an anonymous telephone call.

(Reporting by Deepa Babington; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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