WWII-Era Bomb Defused as 70,000 Thessaloniki Residents Evacuated from Potential Impact Area


A World War II-era bomb was successfully defused in the Greek city of Thessaloniki following the evacuation of approximately 70,000 residents from the area that could have been impacted, should the bomb had gone off.

The 250kg (500lb) bomb was discovered during excavation works in the Kordelio area of Greece’s second largest city.

Police went house-to-house to evacuate residents so the military could move in and conduct the extraction of the bomb.

It was one of the largest peacetime evacuations in Greece and by all accounts, went off without a problem as residents complied with civil orders to leave the potential explosion area.

A state of emergency had been declared in the three municipalities affected by the operation. Trains and buses were suspended, and church services cancelled.

Many people left in their cars, but some were sent in buses to nearby schools and sports halls to wait out the operation.

The bomb was discovered last week near a petrol station during work to expand fuel storage tanks. The army says it will be taken to a firing range, where a decision will then be taken on how best to defuse it.

Officials said the device was too degraded to tell if it was a German or an Allied bomb. The Nazi Germans occupied Greece from April of 1941 until October 1944 and German bombs did fall on the city during the early stages of the invasion.

In subsequent years of the occupation, many American and British bombs also fell, targeting German railway operations at the nearby Central Railroad Station.


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