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Rome on alert after embassy bomb blasts

Rome was on high alert on Christmas Eve after parcel bomb blasts left two staffers at the Chilean and Swiss embassies in the Italian capital badly injured in an attack claimed by anarchists.

world Updated: Dec 26, 2010 11:28 IST

Rome was on high alert on Christmas Eve after parcel bomb blasts left two staffers at the Chilean and Swiss embassies in the Italian capital badly injured in an attack claimed by anarchists.

Embassies, ministry buildings, post offices and the parliament were under tighter security after the two explosions yesterday and false alarms in three other foreign embassies and two local government buildings in Rome.

The Chilean injured as he opened a package delivered to the embassy lost two fingers and was wounded in the chest and one eye, hospital sources said. It is feared the Swiss embassy worker wounded in the same way could lose his hand.

Chilean foreign minister Alfredo Moreno said the attack was "cowardly" and "an act of terrorism," while Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy Rey condemned "such malicious and unforgivable acts in the strongest terms."

Both bombs were contained inside plastic VHS video boxes packed with gunpowder and metal fragments connected to a nine-volt battery and a light bulb filament, La Repubblica newspaper reported, citing investigators. An insulating tape kept the bombs from going off until they were opened.