A bomb dating back to World War II caused the evacuation of nearly 13,000 residents in Frankfurt on Sunday as experts worked frantically to defuse it.

The 500kg British bomb was discovered on a construction site in Germany's financial capital on Thursday, emergency services said.

A safety zone measuring 700 metres was set up in the west of the city centre in an area that included a number of elderly people's homes, heating and internet infrastructure and facilities of the Deutsche Bahn national rail operator.

The work was expected to continue into the evening because of coronavirus restrictions, the authorities said.


It has been 75 years since the end of WWII. But Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

Earlier this year, experts defused seven World War II bombs found on the future location of Tesla's first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs have also been defused in Cologne and Dortmund this year. In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people - the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.


According to the German news website dw.com, people living in the upscale neighbourhood close to the city centre began leaving their apartments at 8am local time.

Those affected by Sunday's evacuation include the residents of several retirement homes along with facilities belonging to the state rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB).

The company warned of delays and the rerouting of several long-distance and regional train services.

Residents who have no alternative accommodation until Sunday evening were advised to move to a nearby exhibition hall.


Officials warned that due to social distancing rules because of the coronavirus pandemic, the defusing could last into the evening.

The local fire brigade said the size and design of the explosive could create massive damage and be a danger to life.

Frankfurt was regularly bombed by Allied forces during the Second World War, which destroyed the largest medieval city in Germany, and killed more than 5,000 people.

Even 75 years after the end of the conflict, finding unexploded ordinance is still relatively common.

In June, a 500-kilogram bomb was discovered on the grounds of Frankfurt's convention centre.

In July 2019, another large explosive was discovered near the headquarters of the European Central Bank. It forced the evacuation of 16,500 people.



Originally published as WWII bomb causes chaos in Germany