Police foil bomb attack targeted at Nicolas Sarkozy

Greek police have foiled four attempted parcel bomb attacks, apparently targeting French president Nicolas Sarkozy and three embassies in Athens, after one of the devices exploded at a delivery service, leaving a worker hospitalised with burns.

Police arrested two Greek men yesterday, aged 22 and 24, several hundred metres from the blast site in central Athens. Police said the men were carrying guns and bullets in waist pouches, and one wore a bulletproof vest, a wig and a baseball cap.

Parts of the city centre were cordoned off for more than an hour around noon as the three unexploded bombs, found at a different delivery service and in the suspects' backpacks were defused in controlled explosions.

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Beyond Mr Sarkozy, the targets were the Athens embassies of Mexico, the Netherlands and Belgium, police said. The return address labels included the names of a senior government official, a Greek charity, and a well-known Greek criminologist, police said.

They said the one that exploded was addressed to the Mexican embassy. The one addressed to the Dutch embassy was found and defused at a delivery service, police said. The other two - the one addressed to the Belgian embassy and the one addressed to Mr Sarkozy - were found on the suspects, police said.

Police said both suspects were Greek, and one was suspected of belonging to Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire, an anarchist group that has carried out dozens of crude bomb and arson attacks.

Attacks by Greek militant groups - ranging from deadly attacks against police and powerful bomb blasts to minor arson attacks - have flared since massive riots occurred across the country in December 2008, triggered by the police shooting of a teenager.