Two injured in blasts at embassies in Rome (Fourth Lead)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

LONDON - Police searched embassies and consular offices in Rome after two people were injured in separate parcel bomb blasts Thursday at the Swiss and Chilean missions in the Italian capital. The Mayor of Rome described the blasts as a “wave of terrorism against embassies”.

A Swiss employee at his embassy received serious hand injuries while one person was slightly hurt at the Chilean embassy in the parcel bomb blasts, BBC reported.

Both were opening packages when they exploded.

Italian police are investigating a possible anarchist link to the blasts, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said.

A suspect package was also reportedly found at the Ukrainian embassy.

The explosion at the Swiss embassy occurred around midday (1100 GMT), a spokeswoman for the embassy said .

The Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, said: “It’s a wave of terrorism against embassies, something much more worrisome than a single attack.”

The Italian authorities were following an “international path” in their investigations, he added.

According to the centre-right Italian daily Corriere della Sera, initial police investigations at the Swiss embassy were “targeting anarchistic circles of eco-terrorist extraction”.

“Detectives are assessing various hypotheses, including that of an attack planned by anarchist-insurrectionist movements connected with the jailing of several anarchist exponents currently held in Swiss prisons,” the paper said.

In a separate incident, a suspicious package was found at the European Union’s embassy in Switzerland forcing the authorities to evacuate the mission.

Most of the area around the EU embassy was also evacuated, police said, noting that no specific threat was included with the package addressed to EU Ambassador Michael Reiterer.

Thursday’s attacks in Rome came a month after a series of parcel bombs were sent to embassies and European leaders from Greece.

The majority of those 14 packages were intercepted by police and destroyed, including some addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which arrived at the chancellery office in Berlin, and others to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, found inside a cargo plane at Bologna Airport.

On Tuesday, a suspected bomb was found on an empty underground train in Rome. The device lacked a detonator and tests showed it contained no explosive.

Protests by students over government reforms in the education system have gripped Italy over the past week, with Rome the scene of some of the most serious rioting.

Filed under: Terrorism

will not be displayed