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13:30, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 01:04, 21 March 2017 Tuesday

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Eight 'suspect' packages found at Athens sorting centre
Eight 'suspect' packages found at Athens sorting centre

The packages, intended for "officials at European countries" were located at the Greek postal service's main sorting centre north of Athens, a police statement said.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Greek police on Monday said they had located eight "suspect" packages similar to mail bombs sent by a domestic militant group to key economic institutions last week.

Last week, a mail bombs sent to the International Monetary Fund's offices in Paris exploded and injured a secretary. A second bomb sent to the German finance ministry was intercepted by security.

The investigation so far suggests that both the IMF and the German finance ministry bombs were sent by a far-left group called the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, which police thought they had mostly dismantled in 2011.

A source close to the investigation in Paris last week said the mail bomb consisted of two tubes of black powder and a makeshift electric trigger.

A Greek police source on Monday said the eight additional packages had been scanned and "found to contain a similar mechanism."

Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, which is considered a terror organisation by Washington, sent mail bombs to foreign embassies in Greece and to European leaders in 2010.

The outfit, which has links to the Italy-based Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), has only claimed last week's German finance ministry hit.

In 2011, several of its members, many of them very young, were convicted of "participating in a criminal organisation" and given long prison sentences.

Three years later, the group announced its return and has since been committing sporadic attacks.

 



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.