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Wwii Bomb Forces Thousands To Flee

Mon., Dec. 15, 1997

Authorities cleared 26,000 people from this Rhine River town Sunday in Germany’s biggest evacuation for a leftover World War II bomb.

Three munitions experts defused the 2.2-ton, British bomb in 1-1/2 hours, their work slowed by the detonator’s corrosion.

More than a 1,000 police officers, firefighters and volunteers cleared residents - including dozens of hospital patients - from a 1.1-mile-radius.

Police found two children and a drunken man lingering in the area just before work started and sent them on their way.

Officials ordered planes to bypass the area, and told river barges and trains to stay put for the afternoon.

Germany found out about the bomb through recently declassified U.S. reconnaissance photos.

Its location was pinpointed Thursday - 9 feet underground in a field in Ludwigshafen.

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