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Germans must leave home Xmas morning as WWII bomb is defused

Associated Press logo Associated Press 24/12/2016
WW2 bomb forces mass evacuation. © The Associated Press WW2 bomb forces mass evacuation.

FRANKFURT, Germany — More than 54,000 people in the southern German city of Augsburg will have to leave their homes Christmas morning while authorities defuse a giant 1.8-ton aerial bomb from World War II.

The city's medieval cathedral and City Hall are in the area to be sealed off. Police said Saturday that no one would be allowed into the surrounding streets after about 8 a.m. Sunday and everyone must be out by 10 a.m.

Police say it was impossible to say exactly how long it would take to make the bomb safe.

Schools will be opened for people who can't stay with relatives or friends. Police said that people can bring their pets to shelters and that public transportation will be free Christmas morning.

Finding bombs from the war is not unusual in Germany. This evacuation, however, is even bigger than the 45,000 people temporarily evacuated to remove a bomb in Koblenz in 2011.

Large parts of Augsburg were destroyed on Feb. 25-26, 1944, when the city was attacked by hundreds of British and U.S. bombers.

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