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Two Poles held over Ikea bombings

Two Polish men have been arrested and charged with a string of bomb attacks at Ikea stores across Europe and trying to extort millions of euros from the Swedish furniture giant.

The arrests shed light on a mysterious spate of bombings that had prompted the evacuation of shoppers and forced the retailer to beef up security around the continent.

A handful of homemade bomb attacks occurred from May to September in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Two people were lightly injured in the German attack but there were no fatalities. Some of the bombs were potentially lethal, though not all detonated.

Polish officials said they have significant evidence incriminating the two men for planting the explosives and trying to extort six million euro (£5.1 million) from Ikea. The arrests were made after a manhunt involving investigators from across Europe.

"The perpetrators prepared for this very carefully. They set up a bank account, demanded a transfer over the internet, but fortunately the ransom was never paid," said Andrzej Matejuk, police commander.

Ikea spokeswoman Camilla Meiby said Ikea was informed of the arrests by Polish police but did not want to comment further at this point.

Both men were charged with endangering the lives of many people, extortion and racketeering and could face up to 10 years in prison.

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