Latest: Unexploded WWII bomb defused in central Berlin

Update 2.21pm: Berlin police evacuated thousands of people from a central area of the German capital and shut down the main train station as a precaution while they defused an unexploded Second World War bomb found during construction work.

Some 10,000 residents and workers were forced to leave a square-mile area, including the train station, while bomb experts removed the 500-kilogram (1,100lb) British bomb dropped during the war.

Trains were prevented from stopping at the busy station from 10am (9am Irish time) and through traffic was shut down at 11.30am (10.30am Irish time) before experts began their work, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said. Some 300,000 travellers use the station every day.

Bomb disposal experts were able to successfully remove the detonator just after 1pm (12pm Irish time) and destroy it in a small controlled explosion.

The evacuation area, which centred on the construction site north of the train station where the bomb was discovered during digging, also included a hospital, the new offices of Germany's foreign intelligence service, and parts of both the economy and transportation ministries.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and Germany's parliament building are close by, but outside the zone.

Even 73 years after the end of the war, such discoveries remain common in major German cities.

Central Berlin was largely reduced to rubble in hundreds of Allied bombing raids during the war and street-to-street fighting between the Nazi and Soviet armies in the final days of the conflict.

Experts estimate that more than 5% of the bombs dropped on Berlin failed to explode due to a variety of reasons, including faulty fuses, poor assembly and bad angle of impact. The city estimates at least 3,000 bombs, grenades and other munitions are still buried.

Latest: Unexploded WWII bomb defused in central Berlin

Earlier: Police evacuate area of central Berlin after unexplored WWII bomb discovered

Berlin police are evacuating thousands of people from the city centre and shutting down the main train station in preparation for the removal of an unexploded Second World War bomb found during recent construction work.

Police said today that about 10,000 residents and workers were being forced to leave an area of about a square mile, including the train station, for bomb experts to defuse the 1,100lb British bomb dropped during the war.

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said train stops at the busy station would end at 10am, and at 11.30am through traffic would also be shut down before experts began their work.

It is not clear how long the work will take.

Even 73 years after the end of the war, such discoveries are common in major German cities.

- AP

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