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(Updated) False Alarm: Bomb Suspected Outside U.S. Embassy to Vatican


ROME (AP) -- Bomb squad teams were dispatched to the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican on Wednesday after it reported a suspicious package - but it was a false alarm, police said.

Embassies in Rome have been on high alert for a week after anarchists mailed package bombs to at least three embassies in the Italian capital. Two exploded, injuring the people who opened them.

There have also been more than a dozen false alarms in recent days as embassy staff comb through mail backlogs following the Christmas holidays.

Police at the site of the Embassy, overlooking the Circus Maximus field, said the latest report was a false alarm.

An Italian anarchist group calling itself the "Informal Anarchist Federation" has claimed responsibility for sending the bombs to the Chilean, Swiss and Greek embassies to Italy, saying it was responding to an appeal by Greek anarchists to step up attacks.

Greek anarchists sent 14 mail bombs to various embassies in Athens last month and called on anarchists worldwide to unite and organize a "revolutionary war." Two men were arrested for the Athens bombings. In addition, more than a dozen members of the group that claimed responsibility, the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire, are due to go on trial in Athens on Jan. 17.

Earlier Wednesday, two small bombs exploded in front of the northern Italian headquarters of a right-wing party, the Northern League, that is a member of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government.

Varese police inspector Carla Galluccio said no one was hurt. She said anarchists were believed responsible.

The anti-immigrant Northern League - whose founder Umberto Bossi lives down the block from party headquarters - once advocated secession for Italy's prosperous north. It has been the target of previous attacks; Wednesday's blasts shattered the office windows.

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