December 21, 2010 / 1:52 PM / 9 years ago

Suspected Rome bomb contained no explosive: police

Carabinieri carry equipments outside the underground train station where an explosive device was found, in Rome, December 21, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

ROME (Reuters) - A suspected bomb was found on an empty underground train in Rome on Tuesday but police said it lacked a detonator and tests showed it contained no explosive.

The device was found by a driver preparing a train for service in a marshalling yard near the Rebibbia metro station, the transport authority ATAC said.

It was in a box with cables, batteries and antennas.

“The black powder contained in metal tubes in the suspect device is inert,” the carabinieri paramilitary police said in a statement late on Tuesday, after laboratory tests.

Earlier, a carabinieri spokesman said the device did not contain a detonator.

It was discovered at a time of increased tension in Italy after anti-government protests last week which descended into some of the worst violence in Rome for years.

A senior Iraqi official said last week al Qaeda was planning attacks in the United States, Britain and Europe around Christmas, which falls this weekend.

A suspected suicide bomber was killed in a botched attack in Stockholm on December 11. Police believe he was planning to attack a train station or department store at the height of the Christmas shopping season.

Reporting by Roberto Landucci and Catherine Hornby; editing by Andrew Dobbie

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