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World War II-Era Bomb Ruins Christmas For 54,000 Germans

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

More than 54,000 Germans in the city of Augsburg must evacuate their homes Christmas morning while German authorities defuse a massive 1.8-ton bomb from World War II.

Police will cut off the streets surrounding the un-exploded bomb at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, and everyone in the area must leave by 10 a.m. The discovery of left over bombs from World War II in Germany is not uncommon, but the Christmas morning evacuation is the largest since 45,000 people were evacuated from the city of Koblenz in 2011. The Augsburg bomb was discovered during construction work. “A British 1.8-ton bomb [has] …  the potential to destroy the entire city center, according to the fire department of Koblenz, the German town were the [2011]devices were located,” Gizmodo reported in 2011.

It is unclear how long it will take to defuse the massive weapon, or when residents will be allowed to return to their homes. The city will open schools, sports halls and the local exhibition center for those who have nowhere to go, and public transportation will be free of charge throughout morning. Pets will be allowed to shelter with their owners.

Augsburg, located about 50 miles northwest of Munich, endured a massive bombing campaign from Feb. 25 to 26, 1944 when hundreds of British and U.S. bombers destroyed large portions of the city.

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