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WWII bomb successfully defused in Germany

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 were 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. (Harald Tittel)

December 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A massive World War II-era bomb that triggered an evacuation of about half of a German town was successfully defused Sunday.

The evacuation of some 45,000 residents of the western Germany city of Koblenz was one of the country's biggest bomb-related evacuations since the war ended. Nearly 2,500 police officers, firefighters and paramedics were on duty across the city to secure the operation.

Experts successfully defused the British 1.8 ton bomb as well as a 275-pound U.S. bomb that had been discovered last month after the Rhine river's water level fell significantly due to a prolonged lack of rain, said Heiko Breitbarth, a spokesman for Koblenz's firefighters.

Koblenz residents living within a radius of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the bomb site had to leave their homes Sunday morning before the evacuation order was lifted in the evening.

Finding unexploded bombs dropped by the Allies over Germany during World War II is common over 65 years after the war's end. The explosives are usually defused or detonated by experts without causing injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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