250kg World War II bomb found and removed from Thessaloniki

A World War II bomb, found in Kordelio, Thessaloniki’s suburb, Greece, forced a massive evacuation involving 72000 people in order to secure and transport the object out of the populated area.

The momb beign transported out of the town (by Giannis Papanikos)

The 250 kilogram bomb was discovered about 5 meters below ground during excavation works at a petrol station. The bomb was deactivated by army specialists and was taken from the site, just to the west of central Thessaloniki, to a military shooting range to be destroyed. Up to 72000 residents living within a 2 kilometre  radius of the bomb site had been asked to leave their homes for local gyms, stadiums and cafes in one of the country’s biggest peacetime evacuations.

Soldiers at the site of the bomb (by Sakis Mitrolidis)

Over the course of an hour and a half, three Greek military pyrotechnic experts defused the bomb in an operation that, according to local officials, “went very smoothly”. The bomb had been dropped onto Thessaloniki by Allied forces in 1943 or 1944, toward the end of Greece’s occupation by Nazi Germany. Army experts had defused similar bombs found near the city’s international airport in the past.

Evacuation zone in Thessaloniki (by Sakis Mitrolidis)

(after Sakis Mitrolidis, Giannis Papanikos, The World Post & The New York Times)

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