Anarchists claim responsibility for Rome bombs

ROME, (Reuters) – An Italian anarchist group claimed  responsibility for parcel bombs on Thursday that wounded two  people at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, a reminder of  Europe’s home-grown threats at a time of political instability.

A Swiss man was seriously wounded and rushed to hospital. An  employee at the Chilean embassy was less seriously hurt. A note  was found stuck to his clothing, claiming responsibility for the  attack on behalf of the FAI, or Informal Anarchist Federation.

“We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with  facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the  FAI, long-live Anarchy,” said the note, written in Italian,  which was released in the evening by the police.

The incidents bore similarities to an episode in Greece last  month in which far-left militants sent parcel bombs to foreign  governments abroad and to embassies in Athens.

The note was signed by the “Lambros Fountas revolutionary  cell” of the FAI, named for a Greek anarchist killed in a clash  with Athens police in March. It also made reference to anarchist  movements in Chile, Mexico, Spain and Argentina.

“Greece, Italy and Spain have seen the presence of  anarcho-insurrectionalist groups that are tightly linked,”  Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said before the note  was found. “They are very violent.”

The FAI is well known to Italian authorities. Intelligence  services said in a report to parliament last year that it was  “the main national terrorist threat of an  anarchist-insurrectionalist type.”

In December 2009 the group claimed responsibility for a bomb  that partially exploded in a tunnel under Milan’s Bocconi  University at 3 am, causing no casualties.

No note was found at the Swiss embassy, but police said the  packages that exploded were almost identical.

The explosions came at a time of tension in Italy. Last week  saw an anti-government student protest that descended into some  of the worst street violence in Rome for many years.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini condemned the  incidents, which he said were a serious threat to diplomatic  missions in Rome. He urged caution and warned against alarmist  reactions. The attacks, like those in Greece, focused attention on  Europe’s domestic security threats at a time when authorities  had otherwise been warning of the risk of attacks by al Qaeda. “It doesn’t look like a typical jihadist thing. It looks  more like the act of a leftist, fringe group,” said Stephan  Bierling, professor of International Politics at Regensburg  University in Germany.

Spending cuts caused by the financial crisis have led to  demonstrations and strikes around Europe, and experts expect a  rise in political violence by far-left groups.

“Given the similarities with the recent parcel bombs in  Greece following anti-austerity protests, this could be a  copycat incident by domestic activists,” said Samantha Wolreich,  European risk analyst at advisory firm AKE.

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