In Depth

Mass evacuation in Berlin after discovery of British World War II bomb

Operation to diffuse 500kg bomb causes widespread disruption in German capital

Thousands of Berliners have been told to evacuate after the discovery of a World War II bomb in the city centre.

Police said the 500kg (1,100lb) bomb, believed to have been made in the UK, posed no immediate danger but the operation was expected to cause transport chaos in the German capital.

The 800-metre (2,625 ft) exclusion zone “includes Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main train station, as well as the German finance and transport ministries, foreign embassies, and a museum”, says The Independent.

Rail company Deutsche Bahn and other transport operators “have warned of large-scale disruption for trains, trams and buses in the area”, says the BBC.

“This is a common occurence in Berlin, obviously there were a lot of unexploded bombs here ... But not generally this close to the city center, we're 300-400 meters from the main train station. The station will be completely closed down, all trains will be diverted,” Deutsche-Welle’s Rebecca Ritters reported.

Berlin police tweeted a photo of their bomb disposal team at the scene, poised to defuse what they described as “the source of all the evil”.

The deactivation of the bomb is scheduled to begin at 11.30am but it is not known how long it will take.

“It depends on how long the evacuation takes and of course the condition of the bomb,” police spokesman Martin Halweg told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Despite the disruptions to traffic, Ritters said “People are in pretty high spirits ... People have been seeing it as a bit of a novelty.”

More than seven decades after the end of World War II, Germany “still discovers more than 2,000 tonnes of live bombs and munitions every year”, says Reuters.

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