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November 01, 2010

Package Addressed to Berlusconi Catches Fire at Italian Airport

A suspicious package addressed to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi burst into flames Wednesday at the Bologna airport while bomb experts were trying to open it.

No one was hurt and the contents of the package are still being determined.

The parcel was sent from Athens on a flight destined for Paris. But the pilot made an emergency landing in Bologna when he received word that suspicious cargo was on board.

Late Tuesday, Greece suspended all overseas shipments of mail and packages following a two-day wave of parcel bombs targeting embassies, European leaders and institutions.

Police say no mail will fly out of Greece for the next two days while they check for the existence of more bombs.

Parcel bombs exploded outside the Swiss and Russian embassies in Athens Tuesday, but caused little damage and no injuries.

Greek police carried out controlled explosions of suspicious packages sent to the Bulgarian, Chilean and German embassies.

They detonated two additional parcel bombs at Athens' international airport. Those were addressed to the Europol police agency in the Netherlands and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Meanwhile, German officials say a dangerous package sent from Greece reached the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Greek authorities say a bomb discovered in Athens Monday was in a letter addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Greek police believe far-left anarchists are responsible for the attempted bombings and have arrested two suspects.  They say they have found no connection to the Yemen-based mail bomb plot linked to al-Qaida and targeting the United States.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.