A former US soldier has been reunited with three Italians he almost shot as children while battling the Nazis during World War 2.
Martin Adler had entered the Naldi family home in the village of Monterenzio near Bologna as Allied forces advanced on the Nazis in the autumn of 1944.
"It was quiet, we didn't know whether the Germans had really retreated or were waiting for us in hiding," he recalled in an online post published by his daughter and Italian writer Matteo Incerti.
After hearing strange noises coming from a large wooden basket, he and another US soldier levelled their weapons, only for a woman to run out shouting "children! children!".
Two little girls and a boy emerged and the soldiers broke into smiles.
Adler asked to take a photo with the children, which he treasured as a memory of a moment of relief "in that hell called war".
Now 96 and living in Florida, the veteran put out an online appeal to find the siblings, which was picked up by Italian media.
Bruno, Mafalda and Giuliana Naldi, then aged seven, six and three and now in their 70s and 80s, were located in Castel San Pietro Terme, not far from Monterenzio.
This week they had an emotional reunion with Adler over a video conference call, and recreated the 76-year-old photograph of their brief meeting.
"Ciao bambini!" Adler greeted them in Italian during an exchange filmed by the TG1 news programme, the mask-wearing siblings waving back.
Bruno, now 83, said he recognised himself immediately in Adler's black and white photo.
"The jumper I'm wearing in the photo was made by my mother. When I saw the photo, I immediately said 'It's me!" he told the programme.
"They are found!" Adler's daughter Rachelle Shelley Adler Donley wrote on Facebook, thanking the "thousands of Italians" who helped spread the word and put them in touch.
Incerti, a World War 2 buff who has written several books about similar encounters, told AFP, "It's a lovely story, which has inspired huge interest".