Package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Thursday, injuring the two people who opened them, officials said. Police ordered checks at all embassies after a false alarm was also reported at the Ukrainian Embassy.
No one immediately claimed responsibility, but authorities appeared to discout domestic anarchists or protesters.
“It’s a wave of terrorism against embassies, something much more worrisome than a single attack,” Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said.
He added that Italian authorities were following an “international path” in their investigations, distinguishing the attack from a fake bomb found earlier this week on a subway in Rome.
Last month, suspected Greek radical anarchists sent fourteen mail bombs to foreign embassies in Athens — including the Swiss — as well as to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. Nobody was hurt and only two devices exploded, causing no injuries. A group called Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire claimed responsibility.
The first bomb on Thursday exploded inside the Swiss Embassy at around noon. The man who opened it was hospitalised with serious hand injuries but his life was not in danger, said Swiss ambassador Bernardino Regazzoni.
About three hours later, witnesses outside the Chilean Embassy said they heard a blast, sending police to the scene. One person was injured, police said.
Rome police chief Francesco Tagliente said a suspicious package at the Ukrainain embassy was a false alarm, but added that all embassies in the Italian capital had been informed of the blasts.
There have been growing concerns in Europe about holiday season attacks following a suicide bombing in Sweden and security services’ fears of an assault on a European city modeled on the deadly shooting spree in Mumbai.
On Tuesday, there was a bomb scare in the Rome subway after authorities discovered a suspicious package with wires and powder under a subway seat. The device ended up being a fake, with police determining there was no trigger mechanism and its the powder was inert, cement-like material.