Greece evacuates 75000 people to defuse WWII bomb
Starting at 6am (04.00 GMT) on Sunday, buses will take residents living within a 2km radius of the bomb site to local gyms, stadiums and cafes, police said, in the country's biggest peacetime evacuation.
The roads in western Thessaloniki and the suburb of Kordelio, the areas where most of the evacuees came from, have reopened.
A state of emergency had been declared in the three municipalities affected by the operation.
"The first phase of the operation has been completed successfully, the explosive mechanism has been deactivated and now we continue to the second phase which is the removal of the bomb from the area".
The bomb, containing almost 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of explosives, was unearthed in the northern city during road works last week and is due to be defused on Sunday.
The bomb's firing mechanism "was still in a very good shape, and this was what had us anxious", army chief of staff Nikos Phanios said.
Although unprecedented in Greece, discoveries of unexploded WWII bombs are not uncommon in Britain. "Residents will still not be allowed in their homes, because the removal and transport contains dangers". Reuters reports the bomb was removed from its resting place and taken to a military shooting range, where it will be destroyed.
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Alexander Bogdani and his wife, Anna Bokonozi, left on foot, with their toddler daughter in a pushchair.
'They have warned us. we are afraid for the child, ' Bogdani said. Trains were halted and church services have been cancelled. The city also booked a 175-room hotel where people with limited mobility and their escorts were taken on Saturday.
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The group, many of them Syrians fleeing the civil war there, live in a nearby former toilet paper factory.
But one resident said he remembered the day it fell. It dropped during an air raid against rail facilities during Nazi Germany's occupation of Greece.
A 13-year-old at the time, Gerasimou said he and his friends would go to the railway station each day for food rations.
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