Dresden Airport shut after bomb disposal experts set WWII explosive on fire (PHOTO)

Dresden Airport shut after bomb disposal experts set WWII explosive on fire (PHOTO)
All flights in and out of Dresden Airport have been suspended after an army disposal team inadvertently set a WWII bomb on fire while trying to defuse it.

Police in the German city have cordoned off an area on Lobtauer Street close to a fly-over and gas station, after the historical device caught fire on Thursday. According to Saxony Police, the explosive device was discovered on Tuesday but went ablaze after an ordnance disposal team attempted to make the bomb safe.

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The area – which is close to east Dresden homes – has now been closed off to pedestrians and traffic. Meanwhile, authorities have banned all aircraft from flying over the site and into Dresden Airport until at least 6pm local time. The international airport, which services more than 1.7 million air passengers a year, is located around 13km (8 miles) from the current danger zone.

“Dresden airspace is blocked until further notice, so that no take-off or landing at Dresden Airport is possible. Passengers should contact the respective airline,” a statement by the airport read.

Meanwhile, the local police force tweeted early Thursday that the threat had not been contained and the evacuation zone remains in place.

A police helicopter, drone and firefighting robot have also been deployed to offer surveillance to the bomb sit while emergency services wait for the explosive to “cool down”. During the Second World War, the city of Dresden was flattened over the course of three days during an Allied bombardment.

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Some 1,500 tons (metric) of high explosives and incendiary canisters were dropped from February 13, 1945, as the Allied forces attempted to destroy key transport lines and strangle Nazi German moral. It’s estimated that 25,000 people died during the wartime operation.

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