BERLIN: Thousands of people around Berlin’s central railway station were evacuated on Friday as bomb disposal experts began defusing an unexploded World War II explosive unearthed on a building site.
Trains, trams and buses were halted or rerouted as the operation to dispose of the British 500-kilogramme (1,100-pound) bomb found more than 70 years after the war got underway. Authorities have declared an exclusion zone with an 800-metre (yard) radius around the site located just north of the central railway station, a transport hub that on a normal day is used by 300,000 passengers. Arriving from Leipzig on a day trip to Berlin, Japanese tourist Yamamoto looked bewildered as he was told of the operation at the railway station.“We didn’t know anything about the bomb,” he told AFP. The exclusion zone covers the train station, an army hospital, the economy ministry, an art gallery and a museum as well as part of the BND intelligence service’s new headquarters.
Many thousands of residents and employees have been ordered to stay clear of the area and not return until police give the all-clear.