WWII bomb sparks evacuation in Frankfurt

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Disposers Dieter Schwaetzler, left, and Rene Bennert sit next to 1.8 ton WWII bomb right after they defused it, in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. Police say bomb disposal experts have successfully defused a huge World War II-era bomb in the German financial capital Frankfurt that forced the evacuation of more than 60,000 residents. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Frankfurt on Sunday evacuated nearly 13,000 of its residents as experts defused an unexploded World War II bomb found on a construction site.

The 500-kilogramme (1,100-pound) British bomb has been found some 75 years after the war. To this day, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance that is often uncovered similarly during construction work.

The diffusion work was expected to continue well into the evening because of coronavirus restrictions, the emergency service authorities said. The local fire brigade said the size and design of the explosive could be life-threatening and create massive damage.

Authorities set up a 700-meter exclusion zone around the area in the west of the city centre in an area that included a number of old people’s homes, heating and internet infrastructure and facilities of the Deutsche Bahn national rail operator.

Sizeable bombs of such calibre have also been defused in Cologne and Dortmund earlier this year. Experts even defused seven World War II bombs found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

The discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in 2017 prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people in Frankfurt, making it the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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