Germany: 45,000 to evacuate as WWII bomb defused

AP
Sandbags frame a 1.8 ton WWII bomb  in river Rhine near Koblenz Saturday Dec. 3, 2011. Officials in Germany's western city of Koblenz say some 45,000 residents have to be evacuated because of a World War II era bomb discovered in the Rhine river. The bomb was discovered in the Rhine after its water level fell significantly amid a prolonged lack of rain. (AP Photo/dapd/ Harald Tittel)
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Sandbags frame a 1.8 ton WWII bomb in river Rhine near Koblenz Saturday Dec. 3, 2011. Officials in Germany's western city of Koblenz say some 45,000 residents have to be evacuated because of a World War II era bomb discovered in the Rhine river. The bomb was discovered in the Rhine after its water level fell significantly amid a prolonged lack of rain. (AP Photo/dapd/ Harald Tittel)

BERLIN (AP) — Officials in the western German city of Koblenz say tens of thousands of residents have left their homes as experts prepare to defuse a massive World War II-era bomb discovered in the Rhine river.

City officials said Sunday that some 45,000 residents living within a radius of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the bomb site had to evacuate for the day by 0800 GMT.

It's one of Germany's biggest bomb-related evacuations since the war ended.

The British 1.8 ton bomb could cause massive damage if it exploded. It was found last week alongside a 275-pound U.S. bomb after the Rhine's water level fell due to lack of rain. Both bombs are to be defused.

Finding unexploded bombs dropped by the Allies over Germany is common even more than 60 years after the conflict.