Frankfurt evacuates thousands to defuse World War II bomb

Dieter Schwaetzler left and Rene Bennert sit next to the 1.8 ton WWII bomb after they defused it in Frankfurt

Police said anyone refusing to evacuate would be arrested.

More than 60,000 people have been ordered to leave a radius of 1.5 kilometers - almost a mile - around the site where the 1.8-ton British bomb will be disposed of Sunday.

Police set up cordons around the evacuation area, which covered a radius of 1.5 kilometers, as residents hauling suitcases or riding bicycles left the zone.

Around 21,000 people had to leave the area in Koblenz as the 500-kilogramme (1,100-pound) bomb was successfully defused, before the fire brigade allowed residents to return to their homes.

About 20,000 people were evacuated from the western city of Koblenz before specialists disarmed a 500-kilogram USA bomb Saturday.

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

The HC 4000 bomb is believed to have been dropped by Britain's Royal Airforce in World War II.

Officials estimate that 15 per cent of the bombs failed to explode, some burrowing six metres deep. In July, a kindergarten was evacuated after teachers discovered an unexploded World War Two bomb on a shelf among some toys.

Three police explosives experts in Goettingen were killed in 2010 while preparing to defuse a 1,000 lb (450kg) bomb.

Thousands of unexploded bombs from the war are still found in Germany every year. "By offering free entry to all city museums we want to help those affected to spend a few hours without worrying", Frankfurt's Mayor Peter Feldmann said in a statement.

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