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Two WWII bombs found in Maribor, to be defused this week

Maribor, 28 October - A couple of unexploded aerial bombs, relics from the Second World War, were unearthed in two locations in Maribor over the weekend and are expected to be defused on Thursday and Sunday, respectively. This will prompt the evacuation of thousands of people in the vicinity of the defusing sites.

Maribor
An unexploded WWII bomb found at a construction site nearby the Europark shopping centre.
Photo: Maribor city

The evacuation will cover the area spanning 300 or 600 metres away from the sites, partly including the nearby UKC Maribor hospital. The patients lying in the rooms facing the site will thus have to be evacuated as well, said the head of the Maribor firefighter unit Aleš Ciringer.

The access to the hospital will be limited; however, emergency care services will be provided.

The first bomb, weighing 250 kg, was found on Saturday at a construction site close by the biggest Maribor shopping centre Europark.

Its defusing will take place on Thursday, with roads being temporarily closed, trains down and gas supply halted between 8am and 4pm. The centre will be closed due to a national holiday anyway.

Meanwhile, the second bomb was discovered on Sunday at a railway construction site - the 500kg bomb will be neutralised on Sunday and the process will require a wider area of evacuation.

What will make the Sunday evacuation even more challenging is that both the city's bus station and train station are situated nearby. According to the unofficial estimates, the process will be thus the largest evacuation in Maribor since WWII.

Ciringer reiterated today that both bombs currently posed no threat to Maribor citizens and even during the defusing process, there should be no greater hazards than possible injuries due to rockfall or damages to the buildings due to the pressure of the blast wave in the worst-case scenario.

Stanislav Lotrič, deputy head of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, also said that there was no reason to worry and that the agency's experts for bomb disposal already had experience with similar bombs.

During the Second World War, Maribor was one of the most bombed cities in the former Yugoslavia - for example, on 14 October in 1944, the second largest city in Slovenia was blasted by 560 bombs, with more than 70 people killed in the attack.

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© STA, 2019