SINGAPORE: Singapore army specialists on Tuesday detonated a 100kg World War II-era bomb found at a construction site, causing a thunderous boom in the city-state after authorities had evacuated thousands of residents.
More than 4,000 people were evacuated from nearby residences for the controlled detonation, which local media reported was the largest-ever exercise involving a WWII relic in Singapore.
The unexploded aerial bomb was discovered last week where a condominium was being built in the city’s northeastern suburb of Bukit Timah, police said on Sunday.
A mushroom cloud rose in the distance on Tuesday morning as bomb disposal experts carried out the first of a series of explosions.
Before the detonation military officers were seen setting up sandbags around the area where it would be detonated to contain the blast, an AFP journalist said.
Soldiers carried the bomb on a net from where it was found into the sandbagged area, where charges had been laid.
Surrounding streets were empty of cars and a 200m cordon set up around the site kept locals at bay as the blast was triggered.
Police had warned residents not to be alarmed by the loud explosion and to avoid the area.
The device likely contained around 47kg of explosives, strong enough to destroy an apartment block, local media reported.
Japanese planes first bombed Singapore, then a British colony, on December 8, 1941, a day after Tokyo’s attack on the US Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that pushed Washington into the conflict.
The bombings intensified in January 1942 before Japanese troops landed on the island on February 8 and captured it after a week of fighting that culminated in the surrender of Singapore’s British defenders.
There have been a few discoveries of unexploded devices in the land-scarce city-state in recent years.
A projectile believed to be a war relic was discovered in April 2021 by a construction worker outside a temple construction site, prompting the evacuation of more than 100 people from nearby shophouses, the Straits Times newspaper reported.
Another unexploded device was discovered at a housing construction site in December 2020, according to the newspaper.