The latest discovery was a letter bomb addressed to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, which was intercepted less than 24 hours after a similar device, also sent from Greece, arrived at the mailroom outside the office of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. A cargo plane that left Athens International Airport late on Tuesday, destined for Paris with a stopoff in Rome, was rerouted to Bologna after the Greek authorities realized that the aircraft was carrying a package addressed to Mr. Berlusconi. The police at the Bologna airport found the package and destroyed it, according to the Italian news agency Ansa.These devices appear to be unrelated to the al Qaeda linked cargo bombs uncovered at a British and UAE airport. Greek authorities are considering an anarchist group to be behind these bombs.
A spokesman for the Greek police, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said two suspicious packages intercepted at the Athens airport on Tuesday night and destroyed in controlled explosions had been addressed to the international police organization Europol at the Hague and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Though only one person was injured, and only slightly, and most of the devices were neutralized, the wave of letter bombs unnerved European officials already scrambling to secure the continent’s air-cargo system after the discovery last week of parcel bombs in Britain and Dubai that were shipped from Yemen and addressed to Jewish institutions in Chicago. Those bombs have been linked an Al Qaeda branch in Yemen.
These plots and threats highlight the difficulty of screening cargo, and the huge gaping hole in air security screening that can allow these devices to detonate with terrifying results.