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Bomb defused at embassy in Rome similar to earlier devices

By Nicole Winfield
Associated Press / December 28, 2010

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ROME — A bomb squad defused a package bomb that was delivered to the Greek Embassy in Rome yesterday, four days after similar mail bombs exploded at two other embassies, wounding two people.

Carabinieri Colonel 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,’’ Ambassador Michalis Kambanis said at the Greek Embassy, although he added that he knew of no specific claim of responsibility.

Gregoris Delavekouras, a spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry, said from Athens that no one was harmed in the latest attempt, 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 said.

“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 yesterday while the Greek Embassy staff lingered outside. The street, in the residential Parioli neighborhood, remained open to traffic.

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 3 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. Yesterday, police responded to reports of suspicious packages at the embassies of Venezuela, Finland, Monaco, and Denmark; all were false alarms.

Also yesterday, in London, nine terrorism suspects were charged with planning a series of bombings in Britain and ordered to remain in custody.

Details about their alleged plot were not released, but security officials said they were planning substantial attacks on British cities and landmarks.

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