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Terrorism

Parcel in Merkel's office could be connected to those in Greece

Potentially connected parcel bombs have been sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and embassies in Greece. The attacks follow mail bombs addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy among others on Monday.

Angela Merkel at a press conference in Belgium

Angela Merkel was in Belgium when the parcel bomb arrived.

The package containing explosives that was delivered to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office was marked as coming from the Greek Economics Ministry. The recent bomb discovery comes after five embassies in Athens have been targeted in mail box attacks on Tuesday.

Two of the bombs exploded in front of the Swiss Embassy and a Russian Embassy compound, but did not cause any injuries, police in Greece said. Other parcel bombs sent to the embassies of Germany, Bulgaria and Chile were destroyed in controlled explosions.

Cahcellor Merkel's office and a Greek flag

Chancellor Merkel's office and embassies in Greece are under attack.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the parcel which arrived at Chancellor Merkel’s office resembled the bombs in Greece.

Suspects linked to far-left group

The parcel’s delivery follows the arrest of two Greek mail bomb suspects on Monday who were accused of trying to send at least four parcel bombs to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Mexican, Dutch and Belgian embassies. The two men have been linked to a far-left group.

Deutsche Welle's Athens correspondent Christine Pirovolakis said that Greek police are concerned since there were so many bombs at once circulating around in the Greek capital. The bombs are said to be sophisticated, although not powerful enough to cause great harm.

Security sources said the package that made it to Berlin was a "fast" explosive device that would have released a flame and caused burns had it detonated. Apparently it had not been a pipe bomb, or any other type of bomb that is designed to maim or kill with shrapnel.

Similar bomb attacks in the past

"One group under investigation is the 'Sect of Revolutionaries,' a group that has committed other types of bomb attacks in the past," Pirovolakis said.

"In about a month's time, we are going to have the two-year anniversary of a police shooting of a teenager, so last year around this time there was also an increase of bomb attacks in Athens and it looks like it is the same this year as well."

Police officer prepares for a controlled explosion

Similar parcel bombs had been sent out on Monday.

The police are starting to crack down, she added, saying that they were checking all governmental buildings and are searching individual visitors to them more closely. Also, parcels coming in and out of buildings are being rigorously screened for further investigation. Major streets in Athens were also cut off to traffic.

Elections in Greece coming up

Some assume the parcel bombings could be happening due to Greece's austerity measures that have been implemented by the government.

"Certainly the ways of attacks have increased since the teenage shooting a few years ago and of course the recent months since the austerity measures have been announced by the Socialist government," Pirovolakis said. "It looks like things are escalating once again. There are also elections this coming weekend here in Greece, so it looks like the left-wing groups are trying to in a way speak on behalf of the public how fed up they are with the austerity measures."

Author: Sarah Steffen (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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