Parcel bombs target German, Italian leaders, embassies

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 13:51

Athens: Greece halted foreign mail deliveries
today after nearly a dozen small parcel bombs were discovered
addressed to the leaders of France, Germany and Italy and
foreign embassies in Athens.

A package addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel
reached her Berlin offices yesterday, when another for Italian
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was found on a courier flight
forced into an emergency landing in Italy.

A similar package was found addressed to French President
Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday in Athens in a campaign that has
caused no serious injury and Greek authorities have linked to
far-left Greek extremists.

Greece halted mail deliveries to foreign destinations for
48 hours yesterday as authorities struggled to deal with the
wave of booby-trapped packages, most made to look like a
parcel of books.

"The transport of mail and parcels abroad will be halted
for 48 hours to enable follow-up inspections," the police
department said in a statement.

The parcel for Merkel was delivered to offices by the UPS
courier company and discovered by staff who alerted police.
It had been posted from Greece two days ago and "could
have caused not insignificant damage", German Interior
Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. Measures were put in place
to make sure it did not explode.

The package addressed to Berlusconi had been on a flight
of the TNT courier company that was headed to Paris but
diverted to Bologna in northern Italy when it was discovered
yesterday, Italy`s ANSA news agency reported.

The airport was closed as the plane was made to park far
away from the terminal and completely unloaded, it said.

The package was found and caught fire as experts began
opening it, the report said. The parcel was small, weighing
around two kilograms, and appeared to contain books.

PTI




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