Bomb disposal experts defused a huge unexploded World War II-era bomb in the German financial capital of Frankfurt that forced the evacuation of more than 60,000 residents.

Hospital patients and the elderly were among those affected in what was Germany's biggest evacuation in recent history.

Construction workers found the 1.8-tonne British bomb last week.

Officials ordered residents to evacuate homes within a 1.5km radius of the site in the city.

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Dozens of ambulances lined up to pick up anyone unable to independently leave the danger zone.

The high capacity bomb, also dubbed a Blockbuster, was one of thousands dropped over Germany by the Royal Air Force during the final years of World War II to cripple the Nazi war machine and demoralise the German population.

Authorities warned that if the bomb had exploded, the shock wave could have caused widespread damage throughout the western part of the city.

Unexploded bombs are still found regularly across Germany, even 72 years after the war ended.

About 20,000 people were evacuated from the western city of Koblenz before specialists disarmed a 500kg US bomb there yesterday.

-AP