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After Greek bombs, calls for tougher EU screening

   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Panagiotis Argyrou to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Panagiotis Argyrou to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Panagiotis Argyrou to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...
   Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office  in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Panagiotis Argyrou to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Panagiotis Argyrou to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Panagiotis Argyrou to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

ADDITION ADDITION Greece Mail Bomb

Anti terrorism Police escort mail bomb suspect Gerasimos Tsakalos to a public prosecutor's office in Athens on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010. Eight embassi...

Greece stopped all outgoing airmail packages and screened thousands of boxes in an attempt to stop a spate of bombings blamed on domestic militants targeting diplomatic missions and European leaders.
A 48-hour ban on all package deliveries abroad took effect Wednesday after mail bombs reached the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and halted flights for hours at Italy's Bologna airport, where a package addressed to Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi caught fire.
Officials in Greece and Germany said they supported a Europe-wide tightening of package-screening procedures.
"This incident and the problem that we had at the chancellery with a suspect package must give cause to better coordinate checks on cargo inside Europe ... and then as far as possible worldwide," Merkel told the daily Passauer Neue Presse.
The device found in Berlin appeared identical in construction to those used in Greece, and seemed to contain a gunpowder-like substance, German officials said. The country's Federal Criminal Police Office said it had sent investigators to Athens.
Germany will ask the Belgian EU presidency to put air-cargo security on the agenda of next week's regular meeting of interior ministers, Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said
The attacks, which followed an unsuccessful Yemen-based mail bomb plot, highlighted the difficulty of keeping bombs out of the international delivery system. Several European governments urged vigilance but didn't say they were increasing measures already in place at leaders' offices.
At least 13 mail bombs were detected sent from the Greek capital on Monday and Tuesday _ one addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and eight to the Athens embassies of Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Chile, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Three of the bombs exploded or caught fire in Athens, causing minor damage and leaving one delivery service employee burned.
Police investigators said none of the devices examined so far contained lethal amounts of explosives _ unlike those used by the Yemeni militants. Government spokesman George Petalotis said that the Greek mail bombs had no link to Islamist groups.
Authorities have charged two suspects arrested Monday in connection with the bombings, and released the photographs of five other suspects believed to be associated with them. The suspects, most in their early 20s, have been linked to an anarchist militant group called Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire.
Greece has suffered a spike in militant attacks _ including a deadly letter bombing earlier this year _ since massive riots in 2008 triggered by a police shooting of a teenage boy.
The country was plagued by far-left terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s, with more than 20 people killed in gunfire and bombing attacks. Although the deadliest of these organizations were eradicated over the past decade, their attacks have inspired several small radical anarchist or nihilist groups violently opposed to capitalism and all forms of state authority.
Believed to recruit from anarchists and students who often clash with police in Greece's frequent protests, these groups have come to dominate domestic political violence _ despite the arrest of more than a dozen suspected militants over the past year. But they are seen as lacking the sophistication and tight organization of the older far-left groups.
___
Associated Press Writers Nicholas Paphitis in Athens and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this story


Updated : 2021-08-04 16:13 GMT+08:00