British Army Defuses Giant WWII-Era Bomb in London

Military engineers defused a giant bomb from World War II that was discovered in east London during construction for the Olympic Games, a military spokesman said Friday.

A team of Royal Engineers, from the British Army, made the 2,200-pound bomb safe on Friday afternoon, said spokesman Simon Saunders.

The bomb, which Metropolitan Police said was the largest found in London in three decades, was discovered Monday by construction workers preparing a site for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The bomb had started to tick at one point but engineers dealt with the problem, Saunders said.

Service on two nearby subway lines was suspended Friday as a precaution while the bomb was being defused.

Thousands of bombs fell on east London during World War II and unexploded devices are found from time to time, particularly at construction sites.

An unexploded bomb of the size of this one is very rare in Britain, although devices as large as 4,000 pounds were dropped, according to Zetica, a consulting firm that analyzed risks in the Olympic area for the London Development Agency.

Government statistics indicate that most unexploded bombs found between October 1940 and May 1941 were either 110 pounds or 550 pounds. An average of 84 bombs fell on civilian targets and failed to explode every day from Sept. 21, 1940, to July 5, 1941, government data says.

Some bombs were not designed to explode on impact, but were fused with timing devices. Records indicate that nearly one-fifth of the bombs failed to explode.

Since 1955, there have been no recorded incidents of an unexploded bomb detonating in Britain, Zetica said in the report published last year.