Published: Mon, February 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Greek city evacuated to defuse WWII bomb

Greek city evacuated to defuse WWII bomb

The sheer amount of bombs and other explosives used during World War II in particular have prompted a steady stream of discoveries of unexploded devices every year since the war ended.

The bomb was believed to be dropped by either British or US forces in 1943-1944 targeting Nazi German facilities in Greece's second-largest city.

A large World War II bomb was successfully defused by Greek authorities after a mass evacuation of tens of thousands from the country's second largest city, Thessaloniki.

The bomb, containing almost 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of explosives, was unearthed in the northern city during road works last week and is due to be defused on Sunday.

Mandatory evacuations to from the vicinity of the unexploded bomb began at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, with police going door to door to remind people living within a 1.9-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius to leave the area.

The process to unearth and defuse the bomb was delayed in part by the need to first remove a camera installed by a Greek media organization that was deemed too close to the excavation site.

Resident Michalis Papanos, 71, said: 'We heard on TV that, if the bomb explodes, it will be like a strong natural disaster'.

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Buses have been deployed to take residents to local gyms, stadiums, and cafes, and more than 300 disabled people and bedbound patients are set to be evacuated by 20 ambulances, according to the authorities.

The three municipalities involved have declared a state of emergency. Reuters reports the bomb was removed from its resting place and taken to a military shooting range, where it will be destroyed.

Alexander Bogdani and his wife, Anna Bokonozi, left on foot, pushing a stroller with their toddler daughter.

"They have warned us. we are afraid for the child", Mr Bogdani said.

Among the evacuees were 450 refugees staying at a former factory, who were transported by bus to visit the city's archaeological museum.

One resident said he could recall the day the bomb fell.

"The bombing was done by English and American planes on September 17 1944". It dropped during an air raid against rail facilities during Nazi Germany's occupation of Greece.

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