Letter bomb explodes at France office of IMF, injuring 1
PARIS – The Associated Press
AFP photoA letter bomb exploded March 16 at the French office of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), lightly injuring one person, according to Paris police.
Staff from the IMF office were evacuated and armed military officers and police guarded the area, in a chic district of western Paris. The World Bank office in France is in the same compound.
It is unclear who sent the homemade explosive, which was like a “big firecracker” and sent by regular mail, said Paris police chief Michel Cadot. He said the IMF office had received threatening phone calls in recent days but they were not necessarily linked to this incident.
IMF director Christine Lagarde, who is French, said in a statement that she was informed about the explosion while on a trip to Germany. “I condemn this cowardly act of violence and reaffirm the IMF’s resolve to continue our work in line with our mandate,” she said.
The secretary who opened the letter was injured by shrapnel in the face and hurt in the eardrum because of a “rather violent noise,” the police chief said.
France remains in a state of emergency after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks over the past two years.
Greek militants claim parcel bomb sent to German ministry
The March 16 incident came a day after a package arrived at the German Finance Ministry, which is the office building of Wolfgang Schaeuble, containing low-grade explosives, like those used in firecrackers. In the German incident, mailroom employees quickly identified the package as suspicious and called in experts, who destroyed it with a controlled explosion.
A Greek far-left group on March 16 claimed it sent a parcel bomb to the German Finance Ministry, over six years after waging a similar campaign against European officials.
“We claim responsibility for sending a booby-trapped parcel to the German finance minister,” the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei group said in a statement posted on an anti-establishment website, AFP reported.
“The package contained an explosive mix,” Berlin police said in a statement, adding that the substance is often used in the production of fireworks.
“It was designed to cause severe injuries when the package is opened,” they said.
The Greek Interior Ministry said the authorities in both countries were working together on the case.
A Greek police source said the package had a Greek stamp, AFP reported.
The “sender” was given as a deputy leader of the opposition New Democracy party - along with his real address.
Greek authorities are examining how the package was able to leave the country containing the explosive material.
Schaeuble became extremely unpopular in Greece during the country’s crippling debt crisis as he was seen as unyielding in imposing austerity on Athens in exchange for financial aid.
Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, in 2010 sent letter bombs to foreign embassies in Greece and to three European leaders - then European Commission chairman Jose Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
One of the letter bombs, which contained gunpowder, ignited and lightly injured a courier company employee in Athens at the time, but most were intercepted by police.
Police in 2011 carried out several arrests and said they had dismantled the group.
Nevertheless, others have kept the outfit’s name alive and in October last year, they claimed responsibility for a bomb that exploded outside the home of a prosecutor.
Nobody was hurt.
“For every comrade in prison, new comrades are ready to replace him,” the Conspiracy of Fire statement said.