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World War II bomb prompts evacuation of 10,000 in Poland

An unexploded bomb discovered during road works in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok has caused authorities to evacuate thousands of residents. Buses were sent in to transport people to nearby schools.

A huge unexploded World War II bomb prompted a partial evacuation of the eastern Polish city of Bialystok on Sunday.

Anna Kowalska, spokeswoman for Bialystok town hall, said that about 10,000 residents were evacuated and bussed from the affected area to nearby schools.

The 1,100 pound (500 kilogram) German ST-500 bomb was discovered during construction work on Thursday. Military officials determined there was a chance the bomb could explode during its removal, prompting local officials to clear the area.

Bomb disposal experts safely lifted the bomb from the construction site with a crane and transported it in a special truck to a nearby test range, where they planned to defuse and destroy it.

A number of suburban neighborhoods were also evacuated because they lie along the route to the military base.

By Sunday afternoon, local police spokesman Tomasz Krupa assured evacuated residents that it was safe to return to their homes.

Frequent occurrence in Poland

Bialystock, a city of nearly 300,000, lies 125 miles (200 km) northwest of the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Such bombs are often found at construction sites in Poland, particularly in Warsaw, where the city center was virtually reduced to rubble by a German bombing campaign near the end of the war.

bik, dm/tj (AP, AFP)

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