France probes bomb alerts linked to Red Brigades

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Weekend warning of bomb attacks on trains travelling in Savoie region may be linked to extremist Italian Red Brigades, says judicial source.

16 June 2008

PARIS - French anti-terrorism police are investigating a series of bomb alerts targeting trains that could be linked to the extremist Italian Red Brigades, a judicial source said Monday.

Paris investigators took over the probe from local police in the Alpine town of Chambery after firefighters and a newspaper received several calls over the weekend warning of bomb attacks on trains travelling in the Savoie region.

A letter written in Italian and signed "in memory of the Red Brigades" was found Saturday in a telephone booth claiming responsibility for the alleged bomb plot, according to the source.

France earlier this month moved to extradite to Italy former Red Brigade member Marina Petrella, who was arrested in 2007 and is wanted in her home country for a series of crimes including the murder of a police officer in 1981.

Italy's most infamous far-left extremist group, the Red Brigades were blamed for hundreds of murders in the 1970s and 1980s. Their most notorious act was the murder of Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978.

The state-owned SNCF rail operator confirmed Monday that three bomb alerts received at the weekend caused serious delays, one of which concerned a TGV fast-train in the Alpine region.

The calls warned of bombs placed either near tracks or aboard trains travelling between the towns of Chambery and Aix-les-Bains, an area that draws tourists to its many mountain resorts.

Bomb defusal experts were called in to Aix-les-Bains on Saturday when the letter was found in a telephone booth following a call to Le Dauphine Libere newspaper. 

The letter mentioned former far left Italian activist Cesare Battisti, who was arrested in Brazil in 2007 and is wanted in Italy for four murders.

A former member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism, Battisti had been living in Paris from 1990 where he made his name as an author of detective novels.

[AFP / Expatica]

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