Greece intercepts parcel bomb addressed to Sarkozy

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police intercepted a booby-trapped parcel addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday, after another package exploded at a courier company in Athens, slightly wounding an employee.

Police suspect the parcels were linked to Greek leftist guerrilla groups. Greece has been rocked by a wave of gas canister and bomb attacks, usually claimed by leftist groups, since the police killing of a teenager in Athens in 2008 sparked the country’s worst riots in decades.

The parcel that exploded in the hands of a female employee was addressed to the Mexican embassy in Athens, police said.

Shortly after the explosion, police arrested two suspects and detonated two more makeshift parcel bombs they carried and a third one found at another deliver company.

“One of the explosive devices that the suspects were carrying was addressed to the president of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy,” police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis said, adding the other packages were addressed to the Belgian and Dutch embassies in Athens.

“It is not clear what the motive behind these attacks was,” he said.

Another police official said the quantity of explosives used in the parcel bombs was too small to kill.

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In June, a booby-trapped package exploded at the ministry in charge of police, killing one of the minister’s closest aides.

On Friday, two air cargo packages containing bombs, both sent from Yemen and addressed to synagogues in Chicago, were intercepted in Britain and Dubai.

Kokkalakis said police believed Monday’s events in Greece were not linked to this. “We don’t see a link with al Qaeda, but we are still investigating,” he said.

The suspects, aged 22 and 24, were carrying weapons and one was wearing a bullet-proof jacket, police said. The youngest is suspected to be a member of a Greek leftist guerrilla group known as the Fire Conspiracy Cells.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry confirmed that a parcel was addressed to the Dutch embassy but declined to comment on the type of explosives or the reason the embassy was targeted.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Janet Lawrence