Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Suspect package destroyed in Greece

Bomb disposal experts have destroyed a suspicious package in Athens
Bomb disposal experts have destroyed a suspicious package in Athens

Bomb disposal experts have destroyed a suspicious package returned by the French embassy to a delivery service in central Athens, just days after embassies and European leaders were targeted in a spate of mail bombings.

Police said the latest package contained a small amount of explosive and was destroyed during a controlled detonation. They also revealed that a false return address on the package was for the Greek Orthodox Church.

In Paris, French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero confirmed the suspect package was returned by the embassy in Athens.

Mr Valero said the conditions by which it reached the embassy appeared suspicious, but he did not elaborate.

Police have been inspecting packages at a private delivery company's sorting office outside Athens.

The latest incident occurred despite a large-scale operation involving police, the post office and private mail companies to re-examine thousands of parcels. A 48-hour ban on all outgoing airmail packages from Greece remained in effect.

Meanwhile, two suspected members of a Greek militant group were arrested on Monday in connection with 13 mail bomb attacks, including one package that reached the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

One suspect was allegedly arrested carrying a booby-trapped package addressed to French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

A mail bomb addressed to Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi was also intercepted and destroyed at an airport in Italy.

The two suspects, aged 22 and 24, have been formally remanded in custody after being charged with membership of a terrorist group and multiple terrorism-related offences.

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