Low water level in German river exposes World War II ammunition

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BERLIN, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The extremely low water level has exposed ammunition remnants from the World War II on the German river Elbe, the technical police Office (TPA) revealed on Thursday.

Even after decades submerged in water, the ammunition would still be dangerous. Additionally, sediments could cover the explosive devices and hide the dangerous interior, Merker said. In many instances, the metal shell hidden underneath the organic cover is already fully corroded. German officials advise not to touch any objects like that and to inform the police immediately.

Old grenades, mines and other explosive devices were found in five locations in Saxony-Anhalt last week alone, according to the TPA.

"The ammunition was mostly discovered by strollers in areas, which are normally covered by water," police spokeswoman Grit Merker told press. Tank shells, rifle ammunition as well as hand grenades were among the things found, according to TPA.

At the end of the World War II, ammunition was frequently disposed in the river Elbe. At the moment, the water level at the Magdeburger Strombruecke, a bridge crossing the river Elbe in the German city of Magdeburg, is just slightly above the historic low of only 48 centimeters in 1934.

So far this year, 21 findings of ammunition have been made. According to the police administration office, the number of discovered war ammunition has also increased in the adjacent state of Saxony.

A significant rise of water levels cannot be expected in the near future. The German weather service (DWD) expects maximum temperatures of up to 36 degrees on Thursday and even higher temperatures towards the weekend.