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Hundreds evacuated after WWII bomb discovered in Flanders

A bomb was found during excavation works in Maasmechelen, near the Dutch border. © Belga

Hundreds of people have been evacuated after a World War II aerial bomb was discovered by construction workers in Maasmechelen, near the Dutch border.

A security perimeter was set up within a 180-metre radius of the area the discovery, with the explosives unit DOVO called on-site to handle the device.

Some 150 people in the municipality of around 40,000 were evacuated as police went door to door to inform residents of the finding, with the bomb estimated to date back to WWII.

“We must all leave our home,” one resident told VRT News. “So now I’m just going to Maastricht with my mom for a day.”

The explosive was found during excavation works for the construction of a cellar in a private home, Maasmechelen Mayor Raf Terwingen told The Brussels Times.

The American-made bomb measured 87 centimetres in length and 21 centimetres in diameter and had detonators at the front and at the rear.

The DOVO explosives unit will transport it to a nearby wooded area where it will be dismantled, with residents allowed to return to their homes a little after 2:00 PM, according to the mayor.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times