Over 70.000 people evacuated from Greek city over WWII bomb

Army officers at the scene in Thessaloniki (Giannis Papanikos/AP)

At least 70,000 people in the Greek city of Thessaloniki are being evacuated so that a 500lb World War Two bomb can be defused, officials say., the BBC reported.

It is thought to be one of the largest wartime bombs to be found in urban Greece in addition to being one of the largest mass evacuations, according to the report.

The bomb was discovered during road works last week and is due to be disposed of on Sunday.

Officials say it is too degraded to tell if it is German or an Allied bomb, the BBC added.

Residents within a radius of about 2km (1.2 miles) of the bomb will be compelled to evacuate the area between now and Sunday morning, security officials have said.

The operation has been described by one blog as the biggest evacuation of Greek civilians in peacetime. However, it is not possible to verify such a claim.

The BBC added that the military says an operation of this size and complexity is the first of its kind in a densely populated area of Greece and the disposal operation should take about eight hours – but may take as long as two days.

About 1,000 police officers and 300 volunteers will be deployed ahead of the disposal operation. People in the city were warned to vacate their homes several days in advance, explained the BBC.

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