Europe

Ypres: World War One weapon explodes, killing two

  • 19 March 2014
  • From the section Europe
A man closes the gate to an industrial site where a World War One shell exploded during excavation works
The site has been sealed off while explosives experts are brought in

A shell or grenade buried in western Belgium since World War One, has exploded, killing two people.

At least two more were injured, one of whom is in critical condition.

The device was set off as workmen at a building site in Ypres were trying to dig it up.

A strategic city, Ypres was shelled by German forces for most of the war and unexploded weapons are often found there.

The area, where a factory is being built, has been sealed off and local explosives experts have been brought in.

It is thought that thousands of explosives from the 1914-1918 war still lie buried in and around Ypres, yet to be discovered.

Every year the former battlefields of western Belgium throw up hundreds of Great War armaments. Most are destroyed without incident by a special Belgian army bomb squad.

Despite that, several hundred people have been killed in similar explosions since the end of the war.

The Flanders battlefields cover dozens of cities where Allied forces clashed with their Germany enemies for most of the war.

The wreckage of a British tank beside the infamous Menin Road near Ypres. Used as a supply route by the British Army, it came under intense German artillery fire
A British tank destroyed near Ypres - a base for British troops during the war
Two men searching for war material and other valuables after a battle near Ypres on 19 April 1918
Ypres was heavily shelled by German forces during the war

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