Prodi is unhurt by anarchist bomb

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The Independent Online

Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, escaped unhurt yesterday when a letter bomb he opened at his home in Bologna failed to explode.

Two small bombs had exploded near Mr Prodi's home last week, also without harming anyone.

A previously unknown anarchist group claimed responsibility for those attacks, saying it targeted him as a representative of a repressive "new European order".

Mr Prodi emerged from his home yesterday and said: "There was no damage of any type. Really nothing." The Commission president, who is based in Brussels, was in his Italian home town for the Christmas holidays.

The packet contained a copy of the novel The Pleasure by the Gabriele D'Annunzio, he said. Its pages had been cut to insert explosive powder. Due to the recent threats against him, he had exercised caution in opening it. "I kept it fairly far away. There was a big flame, but without an explosion. It burned a piece of furniture and the carpet a bit," he said.

D'Annunzio was an early supporter of Fascism before his death in 1938. Mr Prodi joked that the choice of book might have been ironic.

Two small bombs hidden in rubbish bins exploded a few feet from Mr Prodi's Bologna home last Sunday. The devices went off when the house was empty. Later, a group calling itself the Informal Anarchic Federation, under the acronym FAI in Italian, claimed responsibility in a letter sent to La Repubblica newspaper.