Bomb scare in St Peter's prompts new probe into Vatican security
by John Carey ANOTHER serious investigation is being carried out into the security arrangements in the Vatican, following this week's homb scare in St Peter's basilica.
The basilica was crowded with tourists shortly before a Mass to mark the feast day of Ss Peter and Paul on Monday when a man tried to set off a home-made bomb. He was standing by a statue in the central nave: as he lit the fuse he was seized by Vatican police, who stamped the fuse out.
The man was later identified as Guiseppe Santangelo, an unemployed Italian from Salerno. Police described him as "rather deranged".
The bomb was a 12 inch tube filled with black gunpowder and lead shot: police said that if it had gone off it would have had "disastrous consequences".
It is not the first time that people have attempted to explode a bomb in St Peter's: in 962 one went off. damaging an organ and a statue of ,a Pope; another was set off in the square in 1965; there were no injuries in either case.
However, security chiefs have made great efforts to tighten up the precautions since the attempt to kill the Pope on May 13. All pilgrims visiting the church are told to leave their bags and parcels at the door. There is now grave concern at the failure to detect the equipment carried into the building by Signor Santangelo.
Meanwhile there has been further speculation about the movements and connections of Mehmet Ali Agca, the man accused of shooting the Pope.
In his sermon at Monday's Mass, Cardinal Casaroli. the papal secretary of state, hinted that the Vatican was now unsure about whether Agca acted on his own. He said: "A heartor heartsarmed an enemy hand to hit the Pope."
Last Friday two Italian newspapers reported that Agca had been seen in a Libyan guerrilla camp two weeks before the shooting. The papers said the evidence had been given to the Italian chief prosecutor by a "reliable witness" and would form part of the case put forward when Agca appears in court on July 20.
Some doubts have also been cast on claims that Agca was an extreme rightist. Mr Aydin Yalcin, a former member of the Turkish parliament, told a United States Senate sub-committee on security and terrorism that it was unlikely that Agca could have passed through Bulgaria on his way to Rome without some communist help.