Europe

Bomb found under car at Albanian PM's office

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Police in Albania Friday said they have found a bomb under the car of a senior official as it entered the compound of the office of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Security officials called in bomb disposal officers, who found 200 grams (7 ounces) of C4 explosive, two detonators and a cell phone attached under the car of Besnik Dervishi, the Socialist regional governor of the southwestern Vlore district.

The device was removed and destroyed in a nearby controlled blast, police said. Rama was not at the office when the incident occurred. Police gave no other details, but said an investigation was underway and that additional security had been provided for Dervishi and members of his family.

Politics in once staunchly communist Albania has been marred by decades of volatile debate and violence, while public officials have also been targeted by criminal gangs. In 2011, a judge was killed in Vlore when a bomb exploded under his moving car. There was no claim of responsibility for that attack and police made no arrests.

Rama took over as prime minister in September after a landslide win for the Socialists in June elections. The incident sparked criticism from the conservative opposition, which hinted that the Socialists themselves could have been behind the bomb. They described it as a "spectacle designed to distract public attention from the premier's plans to raise taxes and put pressure on businesses."

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