Cologne: Second World War bomb defused following mass evacuation

Thousands of people were evacuated in parts of the German city of Cologne following the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb.

On Tuesday afternoon, experts managed to defuse the bomb, which had been discovered during construction work and sparked a mass evacuation close to the Rhine River.

A statement from Cologne officials say that the device that was found was a US bomb that has at least one impact detonator and weighed 500kg (1,100lbs).

People were moved out of a train station, an opera house, a TV station and apartment buildings, as experts prepared to move in and defuse the bomb.

Although bombs are often found in Germany, more than 10,000 people were kept away from the site as a precaution while the operation to defuse and dispose of it got underway.

Ramifications of the bomb were felt across the country, as major German transport hubs in the city stopped services and emptied out.

There were also roadblocks in place, the Hohenzollern Bridge over the River Rhine was closed and shipping and air travel had been suspended in the area.

Rail travel was also been suspended from the local station – thought to be one of the busiest in the area, with authorities initially warning of tailbacks and major disruption in the area.

The Second World War ended 75 years ago in 1945, but unexploded bombs are frequently found across Europe, and particularly in Germany.

Getting rid of and defusing the weapons can entail huge large-scale evacuations as a precautionary measure.

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