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April 4 2013 5 04 /04 /April /2013 05:22

Second world war bomb defused near Berlin's main railway station

WWII bomb in central Berlin defused


Berlin bomb
Joerg Neumann of the bomb disposal team poses next to the defused bomb. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

An operation to defuse an unexploded second world war bomb found near Berlin's main railway station has caused trains to be diverted, nearby houses evacuated and flights to the city's main airport to be briefly disrupted.


The 220lb (100kg) bomb was found on Tuesday night at a building site near the Hauptbahnhof, which stands in a relatively sparsely populated area near what used to be the border between west and east Berlin.


Experts decided to defuse the Soviet bomb at the site, a former freight depot. They evacuated people from nearby buildings and diverted trains heading north to Hamburg. Most trains, however, were able to continue running.

As a precaution, authorities also stopped planes landing at the city's Tegel airport, a few miles away, during the 30-minute operation to defuse the bomb on Wednesday. It wasn't immediately clear how many flights were delayed.

Some 150 people who lived nearby waited at a nearby school while the bomb was defused, police spokesman Jens Berger said.


Allied planes dropped huge quantities of ordnance on Germany during the second world war in an effort to cripple the Nazi war machine. Tens of thousands of unexploded bombs are believed still to be in the ground, 68 years after the end of the war. The explosives are usually defused or detonated by experts without causing injuries.


The bomb defused on Wednesday, though in a prominent location, was not particularly large or disruptive by German standards. Bomb disposal efforts sometimes require thousands of people to be evacuated as a precaution.


In 2011, 45,000 residents were evacuated from Koblenz – nearly half the city's population – after a 1.8-ton bomb was discovered in the Rhine river.


Last year the detonation of a wartime bomb in Munich caused fires in several buildings that had been evacuated.

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