WWII bomb disrupts commute at main Berlin station

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Media captionThe BBC's Stephen Evans says rust makes defusing old devices very difficult

Trains in Berlin were stopped or diverted for hours after the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb near the city's main railway station, affecting thousands of commuters.

The area around the 100kg (220-pound) Soviet bomb - found on a building site late on Tuesday - was cordoned off.

The disruption affected north-south rail traffic and flights were diverted from the nearby Tegel airport.

German experts later said they had safely defused the bomb on the spot.

Image caption German experts say it took them about half-an-hour to defuse the bomb

The bomb was found about 1.5km (a mile) north of the station, in the area of Heidestrasse, which was immediately cordoned off, along with nearby streets. Residents in the immediate vicinity were evacuated.

The German news website RBB said river transport was halted between Spree and Nordhafen, and flights were briefly diverted from Tegel to avoid overflying the railway station.

There are thought to be thousands of unexploded bombs buried in Germany. In 2010, three people were killed when one unexpectedly detonated.

The BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin says this device was far from the biggest type of bomb dropped by the Allies or used in Soviet artillery, but it could have caused serious damage within a few hundred metres had it exploded.

Last year, a bomb was detonated on site in Munich. Even with a wide area evacuated, a large and spectacular explosion caused a fire and much damage to houses.

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