FRANCE - BRITAIN

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in French city

A British bomb dropped on 9 June 1944 and discovered in the centre of Rennes in October 2014.
A British bomb dropped on 9 June 1944 and discovered in the centre of Rennes in October 2014. @LaurentRiera/Twitter

Three thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the centre of the French city of Rennes Sunday while a 250-kilogramme (550-pound) British bomb from World War II was defused.

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"We found a bomb one month ago in the centre of the capital of the Brittany region of Western France but we couldn't defuse it right away and we took that time to inform the population about the evacuation procedure," sub-prefect Frédérique Camilleri told RFI.

"It took two hours to defuse the bomb and it was quite difficult because it was old and it was not in really good shape,” she said.

Police evacuated all homes and businesses within 270 metres (300 yards) of the scene, including a fire station and 90 residents of a home for the elderly while the operation took place.

“It is quite common to find bombs from World War II in France but the difficulty today was that the bomb was in a very populated area,” Camilleri said.

“The last operation of this kind in Rennes was in 2010 and we had to evacuate 10,000 people so we are quite used to it but it’s still a very big event each time”.

Rennes, a major railway junction, was the target of several raids by Britain's RAF during the war, including a major attack in 1944.

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