French police have neutralised a letter bomb sent to the Greek embassy in Paris from Italy in what appeared to be the latest in a string of explosive parcel attacks, officials said.
The Greek foreign ministry said in a statement it called Paris police after receiving a suspicious package addressed to the ambassador “without the name of the sender but sent from Italy”.
It said French police confirmed the package contained “a bomb of limited strength”. No one was injured and no damage was caused, the ministry added.
A Paris police source said officers were called to the embassy after smoke began to escape from the package, stored in the embassy’s basement, in what was “apparently the start of explosion”.
Bomb specialists deployed to the scene found wires and a battery in the small envelope, the source said, and doused the package with a water cannon, putting it out of action.
The bomb appeared to be “rudimentary,” police said.
It was unclear who may have sent the parcel, but it follows a series of letter bomb attacks on European government and financial institutions in recent days that have been claimed by Italian anarchists.
On Friday Italy’s FAI – the Federazione Anarchica Informale (Informal Federation of Anarchy) – claimed responsibility for a letter bomb blast that nearly blinded the director of Italy’s tax collection agency.
On Thursday, police said they had intercepted another letter bomb sent to the head of Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, that was primed and could have exploded.
European security forces had been on alert for a third bomb after German state police said the FAI had referred to “three explosions against banks, bankers, ticks and bloodsuckers” in a note hidden in the German package.
The FAI has also claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to a Greek top security prison where a number of far-left extremists are incarcerated.
It was behind a bombing campaign in Rome just before Christmas a year ago that injured two people at the embassies of Switzerland and Chile and also targeted the Greek embassy.
In July, Greek anarchists from the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei group who posted letter bombs to European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were found guilty of extremist acts.