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Report: Anarchists claim letter bomb at Italy tax office; same group hit Deutsche Bank
ROME (AP) ' News reports say an Italian anarchist group has claimed responsibility for sending a letter bomb to an office of Italy's tax collection agency that exploded and wounded the organization's director.
The ANSA news agency says a flyer of the Informal Anarchist Federation was found inside the package.
The group claimed responsibility for a thwarted attack against the chief executive of Deutsche Bank this week and warned in that claim that there would be two more "explosions."
Police didn't immediately return a call seeking confirmation of the report.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ROME (AP) ' A letter bomb exploded Friday at an office of Italy's tax collection agency, wounding the organization's director. Police were probing possible links to an Italian anarchist group that claimed credit for a thwarted attack against the chief executive of Deutsche Bank this week and warned there would be two more "explosions."
A Rome police official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the bomb was in a yellow bubble envelope mailed to the director's attention at an Equitalia office on the outskirts of Rome.
He said there was no direct evidence yet linking Friday's bomb to the one Wednesday in Frankfurt, Germany, but that police had already been on high alert after the Italian group claimed responsibility for the Frankfurt attempt.
The Italian group, known as the "Informal Anarchist Federation" also has claimed responsibility for package bombs sent to three Rome embassies around Christmas last year.
The tax agency director, identified by the government as Marco Cuccagna, underwent surgery after suffering injuries to a hand and his face, caused when a glass desktop was shattered by the explosion, Equitalia official Angelo Coco told the ANSA news agency.
"We are working to try to understand the dynamic of what happened," Police Chief Francesco Tagliente told The Associated Press at the scene.
Premier Mario Monti, who is pushing a package of tax hikes and spending cuts to help Italy solve a financial crisis, issued a statement expressing solidarity with Cuccagna.
"Equitalia has always done, and continues to do, its duty in full compliance with the law. It performs an essential role for the functioning of the state, without which it would be possible to provide services to citizens and their families," said Monti, who is in Brussels for a European Union summit.
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemmano called the bombing "an evil, vile act," and urged vigilance.
"There is someone who wants to take advantage in terroristic terms of the sacrifices that Italy must take to get out of the crisis," Alemmano said on Tgcom24 television.
On Wednesday in Frankfurt, a routine mailroom screening found a bomb contained in a small package that was addressed to Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann. The explosive was deactivated without incident.
Tucked alongside that bomb was a letter of responsibility from the anarchist group.
The letter, written in Italian, promised "three explosions against banks, bankers, ticks and bloodsuckers," according to the Hesse state Criminal Office. Authorities said Thursday that they were worried that two bombs remained undetected.
On Dec. 23, 2010, identical package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, badly wounding the two people who opened them. A third bomb was safely defused at the Greek Embassy four days later.
The anarchist group, known by the acronym FAI, claimed responsibility for the embassy bombs, saying it was acting in solidarity with jailed Greek anarchists who had asked their comrades to organize and coordinate a global "revolutionary war."
Extreme left-wing and anarchist movements have existed for decades in Europe. They staged deadly attacks across the continent in the 1960s and 1970s.
Though more sporadic in recent decades, official figures from the European Union's police agency, Europol, show that attacks linked to such groups are on the rise, with most of the incidents in Italy, Spain and Greece.
Greece, Spain and more recently Italy have been hit hard by government cutbacks and unemployment resulting from a continent-wide debt crisis.
Barry reported from Milan. Gianfranco Starra contributed to this report.