Anarchists Suspected In Embassy Blasts In Rome

Two bomb explosions at embassies in Rome have started a security alert in the Italian capital. Employees of the Swiss and Chilean embassies were injured, one seriously, after opening packages Thursday. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although the incidents are similar to attacks and attempted bombings of embassies in Greece last month.

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Italian investigators believe anarchists may be behind mail bombs that exploded at two Western embassies in Rome today. The incidents resemble a wave of attacks last month blamed on Greek anarchists that targeted European leaders and embassies in Athens.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli has the latest from Rome.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Parcel bombs exploded first at the Swiss embassy and a few hours later at the Chilean mission. Italian police ordered checks at all embassies after a false alarm was also reported at the Ukranian mission.

Two people were wounded while opening the packages, the employee at the Swiss embassy has been hospitalized with serious hand wounds. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

They came in a tense Italian political climate, heightened by Tuesdays discovery of a rudimentary device in a Rome subway car. Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said the parcel bombs are not linked to domestic events but are part of a wave of terrorism.

Mayor GIANNI ALEMANNO (Rome, Italy): (Through translation) These attacks have nothing to do with recent tensions in Rome and the false alarm in the subway. Investigators are following international leads.

POGGIOLI: The explosions also came at a time of heightened security fears in Europe, following a recent suicide attack in Sweden. But analysts agree that early indications point to ultra-leftist groups rather than Islamic militants. And Italys Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said investigators believe anarchists may be responsible.

In fact, the Rome explosions bear a strong resemblance to an episode last month when the Greek anarchist group Conspiracy of Fire sent 14 parcel bombs to foreign embassies in Athens, as well as to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

European anarchists have a long tradition of using mail bombs. in 2003, Italian groups targeted the European Union with a series of letter bombs.

Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

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