Thousands Are Evacuated After a Builder Uncovers a WWII Bomb in a Polish Town

The Polish flag flies high during the Polish National Flag Day celebration at Boleslawiec, Poland
The Polish flag flies high during the Polish National Flag Day celebration at Boleslawiec, Poland, May 2, 2023. (Gavin K. Ching/U.S. Army National Guard)

WARSAW, Poland — Some 14,000 people were evacuated Friday in the eastern Polish town of Lublin to allow military experts to remove a massive unexploded bomb believed to be from World War II.

City authorities said on the X platform later Friday that the bomb had been successfully removed and residents can return home,

The police, Territorial Defense troops and city transport were helping in the evacuation. Military engineers then took the bomb away for neutralization, according to town hall spokesperson Katarzyna Duma.

Roads in the area were closed to allow for the safe transportation of the explosive.

Military experts believe it is a World War II aerial bomb, but must examine it more closely to be sure, according to Lublin police spokesperson Kamil Golebiowski.

Duma told The Associated Press that the residents were taken to safety at the Lublin Arena, care centers and a high school that was empty for summer vacation.

Residents had been instructed to turn off gas, water and electricity in their homes, close the windows and doors and take their IDs and necessary medication with them.

Builders uncovered the 250-kilogram (550-pound) bomb buried in the ground Thursday while working on a new residential area. The site held a Polish airplane factory and an airport before World War II, and could have been the target of wartime bombings. Under Nazi German occupation there was a prison and a labor camp there, and at one point, belongings seized from Jews were sorted out there.

World War II bombs are still regularly found during earthworks in Poland, which was the site of heavy fighting. A construction boom amid Poland's growing economy has increased the number of such occurrences.

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