More than 8000 residents in the central German city of Goettingen have been forced from their homes while disposal experts prepare to detonate four World War II-era bombs.
The bombs, each weighing a massive 10-tonnes and equipped with time-delay fuses, and are believed to have been dropped late in the war by the US military.
While most ordnance delivered to the Nazi heartland exploded on impact, a few bombs would be set to detonate hours and sometimes days later, the strategy being that the threat of unpredictable explosions would disrupt recovery efforts and further stymie the German war effort.
City officials said the bombs would have to be neutralised through a series of controlled detonations, as the ancient fuses were simply too dangerous to defuse by hand.
The initial time set for the detonations was scrapped when police discovered two people had ignored the order to evacuate the danger zone, which covers a radius of 1 kilometre around the site.
The authorities have set up shelters for those who can’t stay with friends. About 260 people were staying there, with COVID-19 regulations temporarily suspended.
It is not uncommon for wartime ordnance to be discovered during construction work in Germany.
In June 2010, three members of a bomb disposal team were killed and six people injuredd when a World War II bomb exploded in Goettingen during attempts to disarm the device.