Frankfurt defuses massive WWII bomb after evacuating 60 000

Frankfurt defuses massive WWII bomb after evacuating 60 000
The bomb was discovered on a construction site in a Frankfurt suburb

The bomb was discovered on a construction site in a Frankfurt suburb

FRANKFURT  German explosives experts defused a massive World War Two bomb in the financial capital of Frankfurt on Sunday after tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.

The compulsory evacuation of 60,000 people was Germany’s biggest such maneuver since the war, with more than a thousand emergency service workers helping to clear the area around the bomb, which was discovered on a building site last week.

The evacuation area included two hospitals, care homes, the Opera House and Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, where $70 billion in gold reserves are stored underground. Police maintained security at the building.

The all-day effort took longer than planned but officials expressed relief that residents would start returning home before sundown and that the operation wouldn’t disrupt business on Monday.

The work by bomb technicians started later than scheduled because some residents refused to leave the evacuation area despite fire chiefs warning that an uncontrolled explosion would be big enough to flatten a city block. Police said they took stragglers into custody to secure the area.

More than 2,000 tonnes of live bombs and munitions are discovered each year in Germany, more than 70 years after the end of the war.

British and American warplanes pummeled the country with 1.5 million tonnes of bombs that killed 600,000 people. Officials estimate that 15 percent of the bombs failed to explode, some burrowing six meters (20 feet) deep. Reuters

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