Suspect arrested in Greece letter bomb attacks

Police investigators inspect a Mercedes car and an escort vehicle of former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos after an explosion caused by a letter bomb attack in central Athens, Greece, on May 25. A suspect was arrested Saturday. Photo by Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Oct. 29 (UPI) — Police in Greece said Saturday they have arrested a suspect in letter bombings, including one that injured a former prime minister.

The 29-year-old man, who was not identified, is suspected of mailing a letter to Lucas Papademos, 70, in May that exploded, police said. He also is accused of sending letter bombs to Germany’s former finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, and to the Paris offices of the International Monetary Fund — all in March.

In March, packages addressed to eight other European officials and institutions were intercepted in Athens.

The letter bombs all contained gunpowder.

Police said the counterterrorism officers apprenhended the suspect while leaving an apartment block near central Athens on Saturday. He was carrying several bags with two pistols, 300 bullet cartridges, several detonators, cables, timers and gunpowder, and eight fake identity cards, a police statement said.

A magistrate issued a warrant to a man for bombs sent to “various recipients in European Union countries” in March and Papademos in May, according to the police statement.

Papademos, now an economist, was prime minister for six months from late 2011 to early 2012 during Greece’s debt crisis. The bomb exploded in his hands as he opened it in his car in Athens and he suffered minor injuries.

Other suspects are being sought, according to police.

The suspect is believed to be linked to a Greek extremist anarchist group called Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, which was responsible for letter-bombs sent to Greek officials in 2010 and claimed responsibility for the bombing against the German official.

The bomb sent to Schaeuble was intercepted by staff at the ministry in Berlin. Schaeuble was elected president of Germany’s Bundestag or lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

One day latter, the device sent to the IMF slightly injured an employee.

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