WWII Bomb Found and Defused in Greece, 70000 Return Home

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Military personnel gather at the site where the World War II bomb was discovered in a suburb of Thessaloniki, Greece, ahead of an operation to defuse the device. 70,000 people were evacuated in what was described as the largest peacetime population evacuation in Greece.

Greek soldiers yesterday defused a World War II bomb in the second-largest city Thessaloniki after evacuating tens of thousands of people from the area.

The 250kg bomb was discovered about 5m below ground during excavation works at a petrol station. Residents within a 1.1-mile radius around the bomb have been asked to leave by 10:00 a.m. local time (8:00GMT).

The discovery of such a bomb is not a new story.

Seven decades after the end of World War II, unexploded bombs from the conflict are still being found around the globe. The BBC notes that law enforcement went house to house in the affected areas, which were placed under a state of emergency.

The U.S. -made 275-pound (125-kilogram) bomb was "badly corroded, but its detonation mechanism was still in very good condition", said Army spokesman Col. Nikos Fanios. The bomb was then taken to a military shooting range to be destroyed.

During Sunday's evacuation, residents will be transported by bus to schools, sports halls and cultural centres elsewhere in the city while the exclusion zone is cordoned off.


Governor Apostolos Tzizikostas said: 'The first phase of the bomb disposal has been a total success.

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

'They have warned us. we are afraid for the child, ' Bogdani said. Trains and buses were suspended, and church services cancelled. A group of refugees, many of them Syrian, took it as an opportunity for a day trip to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Reuters says.

But one resident said he remembered the day it fell.

"The bombing was done by English and American planes on September 17, 1944".

The Allies were targeting local German rail facilities, he said. The Nazi Germans occupied Greece from April of 1941 until October 1944 and German bombs did fall on the city during the early stages of the invasion.

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