Friday, December 24th, 2010
Pope Celebrates Christmas Eve Mass Amid Increased Security article came from blogs.voanews.com
Italian police went on a heightened security alert in Rome on Friday as Pope Benedict celebrated Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
The traditional Catholic service followed Thursday's mail bomb explosions at two embassies in the Italian capital, injuring two people, one of them seriously. Members of an anarchist group claimed responsibility for the blasts at the Swiss and Chilean diplomatic missions.
An Italian Interior Ministry official said those two embassies were likely targeted because Switzerland recently jailed a member of an Italian anarchist group, while another anarchist died in a bomb blast in Chile.
Friday's St. Peter's Mass came a year after a woman described as unstable jumped a barrier and pulled the pope to the floor as he walked to the altar to recite his homily. This year's mass passed without incident.
Thursday's bombings in Rome took place as thousands of tourists and pilgrims were arriving in the city for the Catholic Church's Christmas ceremonies.
Fears of possible holiday season attacks were heightened after a recent suicide bombing in Stockholm and this week's arrests of 12 terror suspects in Britain.