Thousands evacuated as Germany tackles huge World War II bombs

German explosives experts defuse a massive World War Two bomb found on a building site last week, following an evacuation of 60,000 people.
People help move patients from Frankfurt's Buergerhospital clinic,  to another hospital, Sept 2, 2017.
People help move patients from Frankfurt's Buergerhospital clinic, to another hospital, Sept 2, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
Paramedics transport a premature baby during the evacuation in Frankfurt.
Paramedics transport a premature baby during the evacuation in Frankfurt.PHOTO: EPA
The sealed-off area where a British World War II bomb was found in Frankfurt.
The sealed-off area where a British World War II bomb was found in Frankfurt.PHOTO: EPA

BERLIN (AFP) - Bomb disposal experts defused an unexploded American World War II shell in the western German city of Koblenz on Saturday (Sept 2), as a massive evacuation began in neighbouring Frankfurt to clear an even bigger bomb.

Around 21,000 people had to leave the area in Koblenz as the 500kg bomb was successfully defused, before the fire brigade allowed residents to return to their homes.

The operation came a day before three times as many people must leave their homes in Frankfurt to allow for a Royal Air Force bomb to be neutralised, in the biggest evacuation of its kind in post-war Germany.

The British bomb found in central Frankfurt weighs 1.8 tonnes and its disposal, planned for Sunday, has prompted a much larger evacuation protocol, affecting more than 60,000 residents.

The city said police will enforce a 1,500m radius evacuation zone starting early on Sunday and residents will probably need to stay away until 8pm (2am on Monday, Singapore time).

Seven decades after the end of World War II, unexploded bombs from intense Allied raids on Nazi Germany are still occasionally found in building sites, forests and fields and sometimes even in private gardens.