Vatican Midnight Mass Latest Terror Target?

Cynthia Dermody

pope benedict

Pope Benedict XVI might be the target of terroists tonight as he delivers Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican Basilica. But not from the typical Muslim extremists some might expect on this most celebrated of Christian holidays.

A group of Italy based revolutionaries known as the Informal Anarchist Federation (IAF) is taking responsibility for two letter bombs that exploded in the hands of staffers at the Chilean and Swiss embassies in Rome yesterday. One of the injured might lose sight in their eye, the other might lose a hand. Rome police have no reason to believe the attacks, a day before Christmas Eve, were a coincidence and that they plan to stop there.

Authorities are boosting security patrols around Rome and Vatican City as we speak.

The IAF are revolutionaries not necessarily united by belief in any one faith who hate the current system in government and have serious issues with the European Union. Like any revolutionary credo, the group believes violence is the way to get their message across and overturn the oppressive powers that be. In other words, they are your typical scary, irrational and unstable terrorists. Odd choice of a name -- I don't normally think of anarchists as "informal."

Alfredo Mantovano, Italy's interior ministry undersecretary, was quoted as saying "the group wanted to avenge Chile and Switzerland's actions against the anarchist movement."

In a departure from tradition, Pope Benedict XVI will begin the celebration tonight at 10 p.m. rather than at midnight, the Vatican announced several weeks ago. The change is said to be a way "to tire the Pope a bit less" and allow him to get a good night's sleep for his busy schedule the next day.


Image via Beyond Forgetting/Flickr

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