Italian letter bomb injures top tax collector

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 09, 2011 11:04 AM
Italian letter bomb injures top tax collector

By Steve Scherer

ROME (Reuters) - A letter bomb blamed on anarchists injured the chief of a state tax collection agency in Rome on Friday, two days after a similar device addressed to a top banker was intercepted in Germany.

The bomb exploded at the headquarters of Equitalia, which collects overdue taxes and fines, police said. Italian news agency AGI said the agency's director-general, Marco Cuccagna, had lost part of one finger, but his life was not in danger.

Rome police chief Francesco Tagliente told reporters the bomb could have arrived at the offices as early as Tuesday.

"As of now, we have received nothing from anyone claiming responsibility, but we do not rule out that an analysis of the explosive could lead us to those responsible," he added.

Judicial sources said investigators believed the attack was linked to a letter bomb sent to Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, which was intercepted in Germany on Wednesday before it reached its target.

The investigators also believe the Rome attack was carried out by the same anarchist group responsible for two parcel bomb attacks against the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Italy just before Christmas last year, which injured two people.

German police said the bomb sent to Ackermann was accompanied by a letter in Italian signed by a group called the Informal Anarchist Federation, which claimed responsibility for the bombs in Rome last year as well as a device that injured two people in the offices of a Swiss nuclear lobby group in March.

The letter to the Deutsche Bank chief spoke of "three explosions against banks, bankers, fleas and bloodsuckers," police said.

Cuccagna was injured while doing his "duty" providing "an essential public function for the functioning of the state" Prime Minister Mario Monti said in statement of sympathy.

(Reporting By Roberto Landucci and Antonio Denti, editing by Barry Moody)