Germany Defuses Huge WW2 Bomb, Residents Evacuated

German bomb disposal experts successfully defused a 1.8-tonne unexploded World War Two bomb in the river Rhine on Sunday, after thousands of residents were evacuated from homes, hospitals and even a prison.

Germany is littered with unexploded U.S. and British bombs. But the British aerial mine defused on Sunday was one of the biggest found in the country, and its defusal caused disruption across the city of Koblenz.

Patients were rolled out of hospitals in wheelchairs and carried out on stretchers, shopping streets in the city centre were sealed off and even a prison was emptied. Sports halls were readied to accommodate residents for several hours.

In total, some 45,000 people were cleared from an area of 1.8 km (1.1 mile) around the bomb.

The bomb was uncovered partly because of a fall in water levels after a dry November. It was in about 40 cm (16 inches) of water and surrounded by 350 sandbags.

Bomb disposal expert Marco Ofenstein said the operation was particularly risky.

"We have a British detonator which was surrounded by water for a long time and the explosives within the detonator react with water over time, which causes a high risk when the detonator is being removed," Ofenstein told Reuters Television.

In response to Nazi air raids on civilian targets in Poland and later London, the Allies dropped about 1.9 million tonnes of bombs on Germany in an effort to cripple German industry. The allied raids killed some 500,000 people.

Koblenz, located in western Germany at the picturesque intersection of the rivers Rhine and Mosel, was a target in 1944 and 1945. Most of the city was destroyed.

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Othman Sheriff
About Othman Sheriff 348 Articles
Born and raised in Kenema district, eastern Sierra Leone, Othman Sheriff began practicing journalism during his school days as a youthhood hobby. After studying mass-media and communication, Sheriff is now the Editor in Chief and CEO of Critique Echo Newspaper. While tirelessly using journalism as a tool to place his country’s socioeconomic and political landscape under a magnifying glass, Sheriff is deeply involved in community development projects. Over the years, Sheriff has formulated and implemented billions of Leones worth of development projects with funds from Europe and USA. He is chiefly focused on community infrastructural development and economic resuscitation projects, fostering interethnic, interreligious and sociocultural cohesion among the young population in Kenema district. He is a member of many international peacebuilding initiatives including the United Religious Initiative (URI), International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), Intercultural Leaders Network and Youth Solidary Fund program of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC)

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