Bomb wounds Swiss embassy employee in Rome

23rd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A parcel bomb delivered to the Swiss embassy in Rome exploded in the hands of a mail worker who opened the package, seriously injuring the man in what Italy's foreign minister termed "a deplorable act".

"A device hidden inside a package exploded in the embassy.. at midday (1100 GMT)," the Swiss embassy said in a statement.

"The postal worker's hands were injured and he was immediately taken to hospital," it added.

The embassy said there had been no claim of responsibility.

The Rome prosecutor's office has opened an investigation on suspicion of "an attack with terrorist aims," ANSA news agency reported.

Reports said the injured man is a 53-year-old Swiss national and he risks the amputation of one or both his hands but his life is not in danger.

Corriere della Sera newspaper cited investigators saying one of the main lines of inquiry was on "anarchist circles of the eco-terrorist movement."

Another possibility mentioned by investigators is that "the attack was organised by insurgent anarchist groups," the newspaper reported.

Police, firemen and bomb disposal experts could be seen on the embassy grounds, located north of Rome's city centre.

"We express full solidarity with the Swiss ambassador and all diplomatic staff, targeted by a deplorable act of violence that merits the firmest condemnation," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in a statement.

"We hope the injured embassy employee can make a full recovery," he said.

A spokesman for the Swiss government declined to comment on the news.

The Swiss consulate in Milan has been put under extra police protection following the blast.

Earlier on Thursday there were two false bomb alerts at local government offices in Rome including one in the heart of the Italian capital.

A fake bomb -- with wires, an antenna and metal pipes stuffed with powder -- was also found on an empty train carriage in Rome's metro system on Tuesday in what police said may have been a threat ahead of protests in the city.

© 2010 AFP

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