1,800 evacuated as France defuses British WWII bomb

Bomb-clearing expert Christophe Perrier touches a WWII bomb before neutralising it in the Arenc area in Marseille, southern France, on March 13, 2016.
Important means were implemented on March 13 in Marseille to try to defuse and blow up at sea a World War II bomb from 1944 discovered on a construction site. / AFP PHOTO 

RENNES, France (AFP) — Some 1,800 people were ordered to evacuate their homes in northwest France on Sunday as a bomb squad defused a British bomb from World War II, officials said.

The 220-kilogram (485-pound) bomb was found in late June during construction work near the center of Rouen in Normandy.

Residents living within a 270-meter (nearly 900-foot) radius of the site was told to leave the area early Sunday ahead of the operation, which wound up shortly after 11:00 am (0900 GMT).

Discoveries of bombs and shells from World War II are common in France and elsewhere on the continent.

Last month, the French navy defused an unexploded shell found in the sea near a popular beach in Cannes on the Mediterranean coast.

In May, nearly 9,000 people had to be evacuated after a bomb was uncovered in Dresden, Germany, a city which was heavily bombed toward the end of the war.

© Agence France-Presse