Frankfurt Evacuates Thousands for World War II Bomb Disposal

Frankfurt Evacuates Thousands for World War II Bomb DisposalFrankfurt Evacuates Thousands for World War II Bomb Disposal

Central Frankfurt looked like a ghost town Sunday after tens of thousands of people were evacuated ahead of a bomb disposal operation in the German city.

Around 60,000 people have been forced to leave their homes while authorities defuse a massive World War II bomb discovered buried at a construction site, CNN reported.

The process of defusing the bomb began Sunday afternoon after police removed additional Frankfurt residents who had yet to leave the evacuation zone.

The bomb was found during work Tuesday close to the Goethe University Frankfurt compound on Wismarer Street, police said in a statement.

The device is a British bomb, specifically a 1.4-ton HC 4000 air mine, the statement said. It was under police guard ahead of Sunday's operation to make it safe.

Police said the size of the bomb made extensive evacuation measures a necessary precaution. Residents were told to leave their homes by 8 am local time ahead of the operation to defuse the bomb, which was set to take about four hours.

Authorities began evacuating hospitals and care homes Saturday, as well as the German federal reserve and a major local broadcaster.

Soon after 8 am, Frankfurt fire brigade spokesman Markus Rock said the evacuation procedure appeared to have gone smoothly.

"The situation is relaxed which is a good sign and everything so far is going according to plan. We will now assess if everybody has left voluntarily and go from house to house and remove people if necessary. People who need assistance are being transported over the next few hours," Rock said.

The fire brigade tweeted: "Transport for those who can't leave on their own is on its way into the evacuation zone." It said 1,100 relief workers and fire fighters had been deployed for the operation.

The brigade's director, Reinhard Ries, told reporters: "The scale of this bomb is overwhelming. I have never seen anything like it."

Police have the authority to forcibly remove residents from their homes. The fire brigade said in a statement that streets would be patrolled with the assistance of helicopters to ensure that no-one had been left behind and that homes were secure.

About 11.30 am local time police tweeted that the evacuation zone had been divided into 15 sectors, 12 of which had been emptied.

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