Greek group claims mail bombings

A Greek militant group claimed responsibility Thursday for a spate of parcel bombings this month that targeted embassies in Athens and even reached the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The radical anarchist group called Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire posted a 13-page statement on the Internet saying it carried out the attacks using private courier companies.

Most of the 14 packages, all using tiny amounts of explosives, were intercepted by police and destroyed, but a delivery service employee suffered minor burns in a small blast.

The attacks led to calls in the European Union to tighten the screening of mail — coming, as they did, after a thwarted terrorist plot last month in which terrorists in Yemen hid two bombs inside printers and shipped them to addresses in the U.S.

Greek authorities had already linked the militant group to the attacks, after arresting two alleged members near the scene of the courier office explosion. Police said the suspects, aged 22 and 24, were arrested carrying handguns and a bag with more mail bombs.

The statement posted Thursday named the two men as members, and suggested the group would carry out new attacks in reaction to Greece's financial crisis.

"We are ready to live through times of great tension. Polarization and social conflict are inevitable. Greece is continuing its economic downturn and will be the theater of major conflict," the statement said.

The attacks, in early November, targeted the embassies of Belgium, Mexico, Chile, Germany, France, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Russia. A booby-trapped package to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was intercepted in Italy, and another addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy was seized in Athens when the suspects were arrested.