News24

Chile embassy attack 'cowardly act'

2010-12-24 14:00

Santiago - The letter bomb that exploded at Chile's embassy in Rome on Thursday, slightly injuring one staff member, was a "cowardly" act of terrorism, Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said.

"We would like to express our rejection and strongest condemnation of these cowardly acts that only manage to harm innocent people," he told a press conference.

"In Chile's case, this was an act of terrorism," Moreno said, referring to the multiple bomb scares on Thursday in the Italian capital.

"The bomb was a letter addressed to a cultural association (and) the attack injured a Chilean, Cesar Mella, who works in administration," the minister said.

Mella sustained serious injuries to both his hands, Moreno said, adding that the 33-year-old was being treated in hospital.

"It's very likely he'll need more surgery tomorrow for the injuries to his fingers, face and abdomen," Moreno said.

Santiago's top diplomat said the letter bomb was claimed by a group calling itself the "Informal Anarchic Federation," although it has not been confirmed by the Italian police in its investigations.

Moreno said the motivations for the attack remain unknown and that Chilean embassies around the world were ordered to take extra precautions.

A bomb went off Thursday at the Swiss embassy in Rome as well, seriously injuring a mail worker. The 53-year-old man is reportedly in hospital and risks losing one or both his hands, but his life is not in danger.

There was also a false alarm at the Ukrainian embassy shortly after the blasts over a suspect package that turned out to be a greeting card.

Earlier on Thursday there were two false bomb alerts at local government offices in Rome, including one in the heart of the Italian capital.