Sarkozy, embassies in far-left letter bomb plot: police
Police in Athens said they had arrested four people on Monday after uncovering a plot to send parcel bombs to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and three foreign embassies in the Greek capital.
Police said one of the four people arrested was a suspected member of an obscure group that specialises in arson attacks on offices and homes of politicians, Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei.
One of the packages, addressed to Mexico's embassy in Athens, ignited as it was being sorted in the headquarters of courier company, slightly injuring a female employee.
"There was no explosion but we saw smoke coming out and heard a woman shouting," a neighbour told state television NET.
"I took a fire extinguisher into the room. It was full of smoke and smelled of gunpowder, you needed a mask to go in there," he said.
The two men, aged 22 and 24, were arrested in the central district of Pangrati. Police said in a statement they were intending to mail a total of four parcel bombs, adding that they were both armed with Glock handguns. One of the men wore a bullet-proof vest and a wig.
From a postal slip found on the suspects, the police tracked down and exploded a second parcel at a neighbouring courier company, addressed to the Dutch embassy.
Two more devices found on the detainees were intended for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Belgian embassy, the police said.
The Dutch foreign ministry said it had been informed by the Greek authorities "and remain in close contact with them."
Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei had also planted a small explosive device in a garbage bin outside the Greek parliament in January, after police claimed to have arrested several of the group's members in raids around the capital.
Attacks on government and police targets are relatively frequent in Greece and are commonly attributed to left-wing extremists, though they are usually designed to avoid causing injury.
Parcel bombs are rare, but a similar device fatally injured the then police minister's security chief in June after being smuggled into the heavily-guarded ministry building.
Police have not linked any known group to that attack.
Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei appeared in early 2008, and has continued operating despite the arrest of nine of its purported members last year.
© 2010 AFP