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Bomb explodes in Italian G8 city

The Palazzo Ducale where the G8 talks will be held
The Palazzo Ducale where the G8 talks will be held  

GENOA, Italy -- A letter bomb has exploded at a police station in Genoa, host of next week's G8 meeting, injuring one officer.

The bomb package went off at 10.30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Monday morning after being handed in to the police station in the San Fruttuoso area of the city slightly injuring the guard, a police source was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Some of the world's leaders will attend the Group of Eight summit in the port city between July 20 and 22.

San Fruttuoso is close to the centre of the northwestern port city which is under massive security ahead of the G8 meeting.

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Security measures had been stepped up in an attempt to stave off any trouble by anti-globalisation groups that has often accompanied such meetings recently.

San Fruttuoso is not in the highest-security "red-zone" where the G8 leaders will meet.

Interior minister Claudio Scajola said the bomb was aimed at heightening tensions ahead of the summit.

"The state and the forces of order have steady nerves," he was quoted by The Associated Press as telling ANSA news agency.

The police source added: "The package-bomb was handed to the police station by a messenger. The parcel was taken into an office where a policeman opened it and it exploded."

The spokesman added that the policeman suffered burns to his hands and face and had been taken to hospital but was not in a serious condition.

The Genoa Social Forum, an umbrella organisation of anti-globalisation groups, also condemned the blast and called it an attempt to discredit demonstrators.

Nobody had claimed responsibility for the attack, Maurizio Riu, a spokesman for the carabinieri police in Genoa, told AP. Bomb disposal experts blew up a "suspect camper van" that had been parked illegally in front of their regional headquarters for several days, also close to the city centre.

Italy also imposed border controls over the weekend.

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