WWII Bomb Causes 20,000 Germans to Evacuate

Un-exploded bomb near Rhine River brings city, shipping and air traffic to a halt as authorities deactivate potential 'blast from the past.'

Ari Yashar,

Blast from the past?
Blast from the past?

World War II may have ended in 1945, but the city of Cologne in western Germany nearly got a "blast from the past" on Wednesday when an un-exploded 200-kilogram (440-pound) bomb left over from the war days was found and deactivated.

No fewer than 20,000 residents of the city were forced to evacuate their homes given fears that the colossal war relic might detonate 70 years after the end of World War II.

Schools also were kept closed and dozens of ambulances helped evacuate a nursing home, reports Associated Press.

The bomb, which for some reason did not explode on impact when it was dropped decades ago, was located near the Muelheim bridge that crosses the Rhine River.

During the deactivation, city officials said the river would be closed for shipping traffic, and likewise air space over the site was also on lockdown.

Bombs left over from the war are in fact not such a rarity in Germany, where construction in large cities occasionally unearths the ancient explosives that are waiting for a trigger to set them off.

Cologne itself was one of the key cities bombed by Allied forces during the war, as they rained down tens of thousands of bombs on German cities to break the spirit of the genocidal Nazi regime.