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Package Bomb Found at Greek Embassy in Rome


"The embassy was evacuated..."

ROME (AP) — A package bomb was found at the Greek Embassy in Rome Monday, three days after mail bombs exploded at two other embassies injuring two people.

Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregoris Delavekouras said from Athens that no one was harmed in the latest incident, in part because heightened security measures had already been put in place.

"The embassy was evacuated and the staff assembled some distance away from the building, so that everyone could be accounted for," he told The Associated Press.

"There were already heightened security measures at the Greek and other embassies, so the procedure that had to be followed was clear. The matter is now in the hands of the Italian police."

Mail bombs exploded Friday at the Chilean and Swiss embassies, injuring two people who opened them. An anarchist group with reported ties to Greek anarchists claimed responsibility.

Police, carabinieri and firefighters massed around the building Monday while the Greek Embassy staff lingered outside. The street, in the residential Parioli neighborhood, remained open to traffic.

Reports of suspicious packages at the embassies of Venezuela, Monaco and Denmark were false alarms, police and news reports said. There have been several other reports of suspicious packages in recent days that turned out to be false alarms.

Police told all embassies in the capital to be on alert after the package bombs on Friday; Monday was the first day of business after the Christmas holiday. Sweden's Foreign Ministry said no packages have so far been found at that country's embassy in Rome, but that it was closed Monday "for security measures."

An Italian group calling itself the Informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility for Friday's blasts. News reports said that a claim found at one of the embassies cited the name of Lambros Fountas, a Greek anarchist who was killed in a shootout with police in March.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has said that investigators believe the anarchists who were responsible might have ties to Greek anarchists responsible for last month's letter bombings at Athens embassies.

On Nov. 2, suspected Greek anarchists sent 14 mail bombs to foreign embassies in Athens, as well as to Berlusconi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Two of the devices exploded, causing no injuries.

A group called Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire claimed responsibility for the Greek blasts. It called on militants in Greece and other countries to step up their action, and Greek police noted Thursday that in the past, acts of "solidarity" have been carried out between Greek and Italian militant groups.

Though the bombings were similar, Greek police have pointed out that the attacks there seemed not intended to cause injury — and none was caused. In contrast, the Italian attacks seemed intent on at least seriously wounding whoever opened the envelopes, since at least one of the devices contained an iron bolt that shot into the chest a Chilean employee.

That man also risked losing the sight in his eye; both he and the Swiss victim had serious injuries to their hands and arms, hospital officials said.


Associated Press reporters Martino Villosio in Rome and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens contributed to this report.

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