Italian Unabomber

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The Italian Unabomber (Italian: Unabomber) is a name given by the international media to an unknown terrorist tied to a series of booby-trap bombings in northern Italy, specifically in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions, which began in 1994. Italian law enforcement officials and the FBI believed that Unabomber is Elvo Zornitta, a 49-year-old engineer who has been charged with the planting of 20 of the bombs after police raided his home in August 2006. Though it is possible a group is behind the attacks, the prevailing assumption of the investigation and media reports is that one man is behind the crimes. Dubbed the Unabomber by the Italian media and correspondingly called the Italian Unabomber by the international press, the bomber is named after the American convicted murderer Theodore Kaczynski, referred to as the "Unabomber" during his criminal career. Kaczynski planted miniature bombs in mail packages sent to selected targets that killed three people and injured 23. Similar to Kaczynski, the Italian Unabomber hides bombs in everyday items, though never targeting anyone in particular. Instead, his bombs are set off by whoever happens to handle the booby-trapped object, including pens, candy containers and food jars. These objects are generally then placed in public places to await activation and are designed not to kill, but only to seriously injure a single person at short distance. Many of these devices are meant for small children using chocolate eggs, coloring markers, and bubble blowing tubes. Generally, the explosions severely injure limbs, hands, arms, faces and most of all eyes. Unlike Kaczynski, the attacker has made no political or economic demands. Several of his devices seem to have been planted in the "Continente" supermarket in the city of Portogruaro.

On August 28, 2006 Italian police raided the house of Elvo Zornitta, a 49-year-old engineer who has been under surveillance for a year. Police have suspected Zornitta for two years but had no proof until investigators raided his house and found a pair of scissors that forensic experts have linked to a bomb that failed to go off in 2004, with the blades that match the cut of a piece of tape used to fix one of the bombs. Booby-traps have been left in household items such as egg boxes, toothpaste and toys. "There is no such thing as the perfect crime and not even the Unabomber can get away with it cleanly", said Col Luciano Garofano, of the Carabinieri military police. Elvio Zornitta faced trial on October 10, 2006 where the experts designated by the judges in charge of investigations into the crimes committed by the mysterious 'Unabomber' and those appointed by that main suspect Elvo Zornitta will be heard in Trieste and evidence will be examined. One of the two experts designated by Trieste's anti-mafia judge Enzo Truncellit, was an FBI detective, Carlo J. Rosato, who came directly from the United States. The second expert was Pietro Benedetti from Brescia.

In January 2009, after years of investigations, Elvo Zornitta, the case was dropped after the prosecutors asked for its dismissal, for lack of evidence.[citation needed] The evidence had been tampered with by the police.[citation needed] Elvo Zornitta received €2,500,000 as compensation for his arrest and trial which were based on false evidence.[citation needed]

Timeline of attacks[edit]

1994[edit]

  • August 21, 1994,
    • The first attack attributed to the bomber occurred during a bird parade attended by 50,000 in Sacile (near Pordenone). Four people sustained minor cuts from debris scattered by the crude bomb planted on the ground.
  • December 17, 1994
  • December 18, 1994

1995[edit]

  • March 5, 1995
    • Two distinct bomb-tube explosions were observed in the downtown area of Azzano Decimo.
  • September 30, 1995
    • In the first attack resulting in a serious injury, an elderly woman activated a booby trap, resulting in an amputated arm.
  • December 11, 1995
  • December 24, 1995
  • December 26, 1995

1996[edit]

  • April 2, 1996
    • Bomb explodes in Claut.

2000[edit]

  • July 6, 2000
    • A pipe bomb explodes at a beach in Lignano Sabbiadoro, injuring a former police officer.
  • October 31, 2000
    • A bomb placed inside an egg at the supermarket 'Continente' in Portogruaro is discovered and defused by bomb disposal technicians.

2001[edit]

  • November 6, 2001
    • A bomb explodes after it's placed inside a tube of tomato sauce, on sale at the 'Continente' supermarket in Portogruaro, seriously injuring a woman in the left hand.
  • November 17, 2001
    • A bomb is discovered inside a mayonnaise sauce tube by an alarmed customer and safely defused by bomb disposal technicians in Portogruaro.

2002[edit]

  • July 23, 2002
    • A bomb is discovered in the supermarket 'Iperstanda' inside a Nutella jar and safely defused by bomb disposal technicians in Porcia.
  • September 2, 2002
    • A child was injured when opening a bottle of soap-bubble solution in Pordenone.
  • November 2002
    • A woman at Cordignano lost a thumb and two fingers while handling a booby-trapped tube of tomato paste in her kitchen.
    • An unnamed woman from near Venice discovered an unusually heavy and hard tube of mayonnaise she had bought in a supermarket. Police discovered a primitive explosive device.
    • A man reported to police that an egg he had bought at a local market had been tampered with. No injuries. The Italian police found a hair and traces of saliva in adhesive tape on the egg's box and extracted a DNA sample.
  • December 25, 2002
    • A bomb explodes outside the Duomo in Cordenons.

2003[edit]

  • March 24, 2003
    • A bomb explodes when placed inside a flush toilet at the Justice building in Pordenone.
  • April 25, 2003
    • Two girls in San Biagio di Callalta were injured when they handled a booby-trapped marking pen. One nine-year-old lost three fingers and suffered injuries to her eye.

2004[edit]

2005[edit]

  • January 26, 2005
    • A Kinder egg placed in the street in Treviso exploded when opened by passing schoolchildren. Such eggs usually contain a toy or prize. None of the children were harmed. The attack took place near the Treviso court house, and so may have been designed to taunt investigators there.
  • March 13, 2005
    • Three children were injured when one attempted to light an electrical votive candle during Mass at the church in Motta di Livenza. The girl inserted coins and turned a handle to operate the candle when a small bomb exploded, injuring her left hand and two bystanders.
  • March 16, 2005
    • One Italian Unabomber style bomb was found in a small fish box in a Humanitarian supply box sent to Romania from the village of Concordia Sagittaria. The bomb did not explode due to a low battery charge.
  • July 9, 2005
    • An unexploded bomb was found under the seat of a female's pushbike in Portogruaro, which had been left for several days in front of a train station. The bomb probably did not explode due to an electrical malfunction in the bomb's battery, caused by intense rain in the preceding days.

2006[edit]

  • May 6, 2006
    • Massimiliano Bozzo, a 28 year old nurse from Mestre, walking with his girlfriend near the mouth of the river Livenza, found a bottle apparently containing a message. The bottle also contained an explosive device which exploded damaging his left hand, with consequent loss of his thumb.

2009[edit]

  • January
    • Elvo Zornitta is acquitted [1]

References[edit]

  • Bomb Injures Three at Bird Festival. (1994, August 21). Associated Press. Retrieved July 13, 2005, from LexisNexis/Academic/News/News Wires/All available wire reports database.

External links[edit]