Two embassies in Rome got hit with package bombs today, injuring two. Italian authorities have notified all embassies about the potential for more attacks. The report of a third attack was a false alarm:
Rome’s police chief says all embassies have been informed about a pair of package bombs that exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies, injuring two people who opened them.
Chief Francesco Tagliente said a suspicious package found at the Ukrainian embassy turned out to be a false alarm. He spoke to reporters as he arrived Thursday at the Chilean embassy, where witnesses say an explosion was heard shortly after 3 p.m. One person was injured.
Three hours earlier, a package bomb exploded inside an office in the Swiss Embassy, wounding the staffer who opened it. He was taken to the hospital with serious hand injuries but his life is not in danger, the Swiss ambassador Bernardino Regazzoni said.
Europe was already on alert this week after rumors of an al-Qaeda plot for Christmas surfaced earlier this month. If that’s what this was today, the target selection seems puzzling at best. Chile hasn’t been involved in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and the Swiss backed out of Afghanistan in 2008. Neither were part of the Mohammed cartoon issue, either, the supposed reason for the Stockholm bombing almost two weeks ago.
Needless to say, all options are open at the moment. I’ll update as more data becomes available. Jim Hoft is also covering this.
Update: Reuters reports that these attacks bear similarities to attacks in Greece from far-left militants:
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the incidents bore similarities to an episode in Greece last month in which far-left militants were suspected of sending parcel bombs to foreign governments and embassies in Athens.
That connection may hold some significance because of recent unrest in Rome:
An anti government demonstration by students last week descended into some of the worst street violence seen in Rome for many years after what Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said was involvement by militant agitators. However there was no indication of any link to Thursday’s explosions.
More to come, certainly.