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Bethnal Green WW2 bomb: Attempts continue to defuse device

Bomb disposal experts examine the unexploded WW2 bomb Image copyright Ministry of Defence
Image caption Bomb disposal experts worked through the night at the scene

Experts are continuing their work to try to defuse an unexploded World War Two bomb which prompted the evacuation of 150 people in east London.

Families spent the night in a school hall after the 500lb bomb was found in the basement of a building site in Bethnal Green on Monday afternoon.

An exclusion zone was extended to 200m (650ft), resulting in more people being evacuated, Tower Hamlets Council said.

Bomb disposal experts are still at the scene, the Ministry of Defence said.

The bomb, which was found by contractors, was thought to have been dropped over the capital during German bombing raids in the early 1940s but did not detonate, said the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

Image copyright Rachel Walker
Image caption Local resident Rachel Walker took this photo on Monday near her home, which is now inside the exclusion zone
Image caption The exclusion zone was extended on Monday night

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said: "After discussions with the Army, the London Fire Brigade, and the Metropolitan Police, we have agreed to extend the exclusion zone to 200 metres.

"We understand this will cause inconvenience for a lot of residents. We urge residents to look at alternative places to stay for the night."

Beds, food, drinks, and wash bags were provided at the Bethnal Green Academy, which is being used as a rest centre, following the discovery on Temple Street.

An MoD spokesman said a bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistic Corps was on site and assisting police.

Last night residents took to Twitter to share their experiences.

Rachel Walker wrote: "WWII bomb in #BethnalGreen has resurrected Blitz Spirit."

'Protracted incident'

LFB station manager Matt Burrows said its search and rescue crews were helping the military.

He said a "great deal of work" was being carried out to defuse the bomb.

"This however, will be a protracted incident and we thank the local residents for their patience," he added.

Several roads remained closed and police have warned of "significant traffic disruption" into the morning rush hour.

Motorists were advised to avoid several roads including: Old Bethnal Green Road, Warner Place, Squirries Street, Bethnal Green Road, Cambridge Heath Road and Hackney Road.

Two other unexploded bombs were discovered and safely removed from sites in London earlier this year - one in Bermondsey in March and another in Wembley in May.

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