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Two men charged after Athens police detonate bomb at French embassy

A Greek court has charged two men with terrorism after police detonated a bomb at the French embassy in Athens. It was the 14th explosive package sent by suspected Greek left-wing extremists this week.

A bomb squad police officer

Bomb squads in Athens have stayed busy this week

A Greek judge charged two men with terrorism Thursday as Athens police announced they had dealt with a parcel bomb delivered to the French embassy.

A court official told reporters that 22-year-old chemistry student Panayotis Argyrou and 24-year-old Gerassimos Tskalos refused to talk before the court, saying they did not recognize the procedure.

The two men were arrested Monday in possession of two packages, addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy an the Belgian embassy in Athens.

One week, 14 parcel bombs

Earlier on Thursday, police set off a controlled explosion to destroy a suspected parcel bomb delivered to the French embassy. It was the 14th such package to come from Greece addressed to international targets this week.

On Monday and Tuesday, several foreign embassies in Athens received suspicious packages. Most of the packages were discovered before exploding either at the embassies or in delivery centers, but packages did detonate at the Swiss and Russian embassies. No one was injured by the explosions.

Another package was delivered to the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although it was discovered and defused by police without causing damage, and a package addressed to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi caught fire when police investigated it.

No international mail

A 48-hour suspension on international mail remains in place in Greece, and police are searching for five suspects believed to be connected with the series of parcel bombs. There are currently no plans to extend the suspension.

Earlier in the week, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said all signs pointed to suspects within Greece.

"All evidence show this is a clear domestic case, with no connection with international terrorism," he said. "The evidence so far shows we are dealing with extreme left, anarchist groups."

Author: Matt Zuvela, David Levitz (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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