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Mayor Seeks US Apology for 1944 Deaths of 184 Children

Newly found American bomb is defused in another Italian city
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2019 10:31 AM CDT
The Little Children Memorial in Milan honors the victims of a US bombing in 1944.   (Getty/simona flamigni)

(Newser) – Milan's mayor is asking the US to apologize for a World War II bombing raid that killed 184 elementary school children. The news agency ANSA said Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala made the request following a Mass marking the 75th anniversary of the Gorla massacre, named for the quarter in the Italian city that was struck, the AP reports. Sala said, "I think it's necessary that the American government apologizes, knowing that we are here to forgive." He said he would formalize the request with the US consul. The air raid on Oct. 20, 1944, targeted an industrial complex near Milan, but a second wave of bombers went off course and released their bombs southeast of the target to lighten their loads as they returned to base. One bomb struck the Francesco Crispi elementary school as children raced for shelter. Relatives meet at the site of the school to pray for the children, per Italia, referred to as "the little martyrs of Gorla."

Also on Sunday, about 4,000 people were evacuated in the northern Italian city of Bolzano so that an American World War II bomb found during construction could be defused, per the AP. Three experts defused the 500-pound bomb during a three-hour operation that forced 60,000 people to stay in their homes and closed sporting complexes and churches, ANSA reported. The bomb was removed for a controlled explosion. A historian said there were 13 major World War II bombing raids on Bolzano, damaging 60% of the city and killing 200 people.

(Read more World War II stories.)

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