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Package bomb found at Greek embassy in Italy

Package bomb found at Greek embassy in Italy

December 28th, 2010 in News

ROME (AP) - Bomb squad experts defused a package bomb that was delivered to the Greek Embassy in Rome on Monday, four days after similar mail bombs exploded at two other embassies, wounding two people.

Carabinieri Col. Maurizio Mezzavilla said the bomb was similar to the ones that exploded Thursday at the Chilean and Swiss embassies. An anarchist group with reported ties to Greek anarchists claimed responsibility for those blasts.

"Having been done in the same way, we can just hypothesize that there is the same hand behind it," Greek Ambassador Michalis Kambanis said at the embassy, although he added that he knew of no specific claim of responsibility.

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."

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.

Ambassador Kambanis said the package, hand addressed to the embassy, was discovered at about 10:30 a.m.

"We immediately informed the carabinieri who arrived here within three minutes," he said. "We (notified) the appropriate services and the bomb was neutralized."

There have been several other reports of suspicious packages in recent days that turned out to be false alarms. On Monday, police responded to suspicious packages at the embassies of Venezuela, Finland, Monaco and Denmark; all were false alarms.

"We don't take any chances in this situation," Danish Foreign Ministry spokesman Klavs A. Holm told the AP in Copenhagen. He said the embassy staff briefly evacuated the building and called authorities after a suspect package was found. It turned out to be a bottle of red wine.

"We have now resumed work," Holm added.

Police had told all embassies in the capital to be on alert after the package bombs on Thursday; Monday was the first day of business after the Christmas holiday. Some embassies chose to remain closed as a precaution: Sweden's Foreign Ministry said no packages had been found at its embassy in Rome but that it was closed Monday "for security measures."

An Italian group calling itself the Informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility for Thursday'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.