Parcel bomb came from Greece: German govt

The German government has said that a parcel bomb delivered at Chancellor Angela Merkel`s office came from Greece but ruled out any al Qaeda link to the foiled plot.

Last Updated: Nov 03, 2010, 13:55 PM IST

Berlin: The German government has said that a
parcel bomb delivered at Chancellor Angela Merkel`s office
came from Greece but ruled out any al Qaeda link to the foiled
plot.

The packet was sent from Athens by air mail two days ago
disguised as books and the explosive device hidden inside was
"very similar" to the parcel bomb which exploded yesterday at
the Swiss embassy in Athens, German Interior Minister Thomas
de Maiziere said.

A left extremist group responsible for the current wave
of parcel bomb attacks in Greece may be behind the package
sent to Berlin, he told reporters here.

It was addressed personally to Merkel and a courier of
the United Parcel Service (UPS) delivered it at her office
when she was attending a meeting in Belgium.

The minister pointed out that Greek authorities have
arrested two members of the extremist group over the attacks.

Besides the Swiss embassy, the Russian mission in the
Greek capital also was hit by a parcel bomb explosion while
similar devices sent to the German, Belgian, Dutch and
Bulgarian embassies were intercepted by the Greek authorities.
They also seized on Monday a parcel bomb addressed to
French President Nicolas Sarkozy while a similar package
addressed to the Mexican embassy exploded at a courier firm,
injuring an employee.

During a routine mail inspection, security officials at
the chancellery became suspicious about the package because
the sender was given as the Economic Ministry of Greece in
Athens. They alerted bomb disposal specialists, who
deactivated it with water cannon.

Initial speculation focused on the theory that the parcel
bomb may be linked to the two air freight packages with
explosives from Yemen, which were intercepted in Britain and
Dubai last Friday.

But de Maiziere said the explosive device defused in
Berlin "fits into the situation" in Greece and it has nothing
to do with the two packets from Yemen, which contained
powerful plastic explosive PETN hidden inside printer toner
cartridges, as he ruled out any al Qaeda link.

The minister urged all government offices to be very
vigilant in handling their mail, especially unfamiliar parcels
from Greece.

The German government is quite relieved that the explosive
device caused no damage or injuries to the security personnel
and staff at the chancellery, a government spokesman said.

The discovery of the parcel bomb in Berlin comes in the
midst of global concern over a wave of fresh terror attacks by
al Qaeda following last week`s interception in the UK and
Dubai of two air freight packages sent from Yemen.

PTI