Thousands of Germans evacuated before British wartime bomb defused

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Experts successfully defused an unexploded bomb from World War II on Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany, after 65,000 residents were evacuated.

Sunday's evacuation followed one in the city of Koblenz on Saturday, in which 21,000 people were ordered to clear the area so bomb technicians could dismantle a 1,100-pound USA bomb, according to the Associated Press.

During the war some 1.5 million tons worth of Allied bombs were dropped on Germany, seeing cities destroyed and around 600,000 people killed. A number of ambulances were arranged on Sunday in view of anyone unable to independently leave the danger zone. A steady flow of people filed into a temporary shelter at Frankfurt's trade fair site.

If the bomb isn't defused, it could cause an explosion big enough to flatten a city block... a threat severe enough to cause the largest post-war evacuation in Germany's history.

The device was a British bomb, specifically a 1.4-ton HC 4000 air mine, the statement said, and was put under police guard ahead of Sunday's operation to make it safe.

Frankfurt city officials have said that the bomb was dropped by the British RAF sometime during the war.




Police told local media that the evacuation took place on schedule even though a handful of residents - for various reasons - were not initially prepared to vacate the area. Police used a helicopter equipped with thermal imaging equipment to check that each street had been cleared in the potential blast zone. Emergency crews had earlier evacuated babies and intensive care patients from two hospitals.

Every year, German officials discover more than 2,000 tons of unexploded bombs.

Experts disposed of a World War Two bomb that had been found during the construction of a new kindergarten.

The massive operation began at dawn, as homes and buildings within a 1.5-kilometre radius of the site were ordered cleared by 6 a.m.

The city also offered many activities to evacuees, with all public museums open and free of charge.

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