The director of a Rome office of Italy's national tax collection agency was wounded in the hands and eyes Friday after opening a letter bomb, Italian police said, in what may be the second of three threatened bomb attacks from Italian anarchists.
The explosion came two days after a letter bomb was discovered in the mail room of Deutsche Bank's Frankfurt headquarters, and event that led to tightened security at the bank's New York offices near Ground Zero.
An Italian anarchist group called the Federazione Anarchica Informale, or Informal Anarchist Federation, claimed credit for the Frankfurt device, according to German police. ABC News has learned that the letter bomb, which was discovered via mailroom X-ray and was addressed to company CEO Josef Ackerman, was mailed from Italy.
Law enforcement sources in Germany identified the device as a clothespin-initiated small bomb, containing just over an ounce of homemade high explosive, ABC has learned. Such devices, triggered when the envelope is opened are designed to maim -- damaging hands and eyes in most instances. The Hesse State Police Bomb Squad rendered the bomb safe.
German state police said that in a note accompanying the bomb the group referred to "three explosions against banks, bankers, ticks and bloodsuckers."
The Italian tax office director injured in Friday's explosion was hospitalized but the extent of his injuries were not immediately known. According to the Associated Press, police there were investigating what they said was a stapled package mailed through the Italian postal system. A flyer from the Informal Anarchist Federation was reportedly found in the package.
Italy has stepped up its tax collection efforts as part of a 30 billion euro austerity package aimed at eliminating Italy's budget deficit by 2013.
The same anarchist group had claimed responsibility for a series of letter bombs sent to foreign embassies in Rome last December, seriously injuring two people.
In 2010 counter terror officials in Europe faced a two-day blizzard of parcel bombs believed linked to anarchists, during which at least 11 were found in Athens, one addressed to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and others to the Athens embassies of Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Switzerland and Mexico. In Berlin, authorities destroyed a bomb addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel. It had been sent from Greece.