Mayor: Rome device not explosive
11:20 a.m. Update: ROME -- A suspicious package full of wires and powder was found Tuesday in a subway car in Rome, prompting a terror scare during the Christmas season. But the city's mayor said the device was a "fake" that could not have exploded.
The device was found at around 5 a.m. EST inside a train at the Rebibbia station, on the outskirts of Italian capital. The train was at the end of the line and empty when the package was found, said Atac, which runs the Rome subway.
Bomb-disposal experts checked the powder and concluded "the device could not have exploded," Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.
He told reporters the device was "a fake," even if it looked threatening.
It wasn't clear what type of powder was involved. Bomb disposal experts were analyzing it, Atac said.
Various Italian agencies joined the investigation, but there was no indication they had any concrete clues of who left the device.
Atac said in a statement the train was in an area beyond the platform that is used for maneuvering when the device was found.
Spokeswoman Diana Formaggio said the package contained powder and wires. She said the station was never closed and the service was not interrupted.
There have been growing concerns in Europe about holiday season attacks following a suicide bombing in Sweden and security services' fears of an assault on a European city modeled on the deadly shooting spree in Mumbai, India.
Rome has also been the site of violent anti-government protests in recent weeks during which demonstrators have set off flares, firecrackers and other devices; another such protest is planned for Wednesday.
Last year, a Libyan man set off a small bomb while trying to enter an army barracks in Milan, seriously injuring himself and slightly wounding the guard who stopped him. Officials said at the time that the man appeared to be opposed to Italy's military missions overseas: Italy has troops in Afghanistan.
Original post: ROME -- An explosive device was found Tuesday in a grocery bag under the seat of a subway car in Rome, Italian news agencies reported.
The ANSA and Apcom agencies said the device was found inside a train during a stop in Rebibbia, on the outskirts of the city.
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said the discovery was "worrying."
"Bomb disposal experts are looking into what it is -- whether it's a dangerous device that was capable of exploding or an inactive object," Alemanno told Apcom.
The area was cleared of people, according to the reports.
Apcom said the device had been left in the grocery bag under a seat, and was spotted by the conductor in the morning.
ANSA cited a press release by the Atac company that runs the subway. Nobody was immediately available at Atac.
European officials typically step up security around the holidays. A Nigerian man with explosives taped to his underwear tried to blow up a plane last year as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who had studied in London, boarded the Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit from Amsterdam.
Iraqi officials claimed last week that captured insurgents believed that a suicide bombing in Stockholm that killed only the bomber was part of a series of Christmas season attacks.
Both British and German officials have insisted there have been no new specific threats to their countries over the festive period.
Britain's terror alert has remained unchanged at "severe" while Germany upped its terror alert on Nov. 17, when Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned of an increased threat from Islamic extremists.
Posted by: DOEJN | December 21, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 21, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | December 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: CTLangis | December 21, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse