Parachute drop marks World War II battle

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Hundreds of parachutists have been dropped over the east of the Netherlands to mark the 66th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, an Allied military operation towards the end of World War II.

The failed operation claimed the lives of at least 15,000 Allied soldiers and more than 25,000 German troops. Staged in September 1944 in and around the city of Arnhem, it aimed to seize a number of key bridges close to the German border. It was one of the largest airborne operations ever.

Today's drop was witnessed by an estimated 15,000 spectators, according to the local authorities. The parachutists jumped from military planes, some of them dating back to World War II. German aircraft also took part in the event. A ceremony was held after the parachute jump.

An air show held later in the day drew still more people. The Jan Hilgers Memorial Airshow is named after the first Dutchman to fly over Dutch soil. Dozens of old and modern planes participated in the display.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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