Parcel bombs target German, Italian leaders, embassies
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 03, 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.


First Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 13:51

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