December 27, 2010
ROME — Italian bomb removal experts defused a letter bomb at the Greek Embassy in Rome on Monday just days after two people were seriously wounded when similar packages exploded at the embassies of Switzerland and Chile.
The Greek ambassador to Italy, Michael Cambanis, said the police believed that the Greek package was the work of the same anarchist group that claimed responsibility for the Swiss and Chilean packages on Thursday.
On Monday, the authorities also responded to what turned out to be false alarms at the embassies of Denmark, Monaco, Sweden and Venezuela, all of which turned out to be holiday packages.
According to the police, an Italian group called the Informal Anarchist Federation, or F.A.I., claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attempts on the Swiss and Chilean embassies, leaving a note saying: “We will destroy the power structure. Long live the F.A.I., long live anarchy.”
Mr. Cambanis said the package found at the Greek Embassy on Monday was an A4-size padded envelope similar to the other letter bombs, all of which had been sent through the Italian mail. He said the police believed that it was the work of the same anarchist group.
“We found a suspicious package and we immediately informed the Carabinieri, who arrived within three minutes,” Mr. Cambanis said. “We evacuated the embassy and the bomb was neutralized.”
A spokesman for the Carabinieri confirmed that bomb removal experts had defused the device.
Officials noted that the packages found in Rome last week were similar to a spate of similar letter bombs that had been sent to diplomatic offices in Greece in November.
Greek and Italian authorities have stepped up cooperation in recent months in an effort to crack down on the anarchist groups.
Alfredo Mantovano, the Interior Ministry under secretary, said that Thursday’s attacks were most likely carried out in retaliation for increased collaboration between the Swiss and Italian authorities that led to the arrests of three anarchists earlier this year.
Officials and security experts believe there is close collaboration between anarchist groups across Europe. “There is an ideological, political connection with anarchist groups, but not an operational one,” Mr. Cambanis said.
A security expert involved in the investigation into Thursday’s letter bombs said that the bombs at the Swiss and Chilean embassies could have been detected if the mail had passed through a metal detector.
Mr. Cambanis said that the Greek Embassy did not screen its mail through a metal detector.
“But fortunately,” he said, “we had the vigilance to put aside this package.”