Thwarted: An IBM office. Eco-terrorists allegedly plotting to blow up the IBM HQ in Zurich have been arrested
A routine traffic-stop in Switzerland has allegedly thwarted eco-terrorists from blowing up the site of the £55million nano-technology HQ of IBM in Europe.
The three members - two men and a woman - of the Italian terrorist group Il Silvestre were stopped just a few miles from their target with their explosive device primed and ready to go.
Italians Costantino Ragusa and Silvia Guerini, together with Italian-Swiss Luca Bernasconi, were arrested and jailed after a search of their vehicle revealed the bomb.
Guerini and Constantino - the 33-year-old leader of Il Silvestre - already have convictions for eco-terrorism offences and have served jail terms.
The group describes itself as anarchist and is opposed to all forms of micro-technology as well as nuclear power and weapons.
Swiss police said today that their car was halted on the night of April 15 at Langnau en-route to the technology centre at Rueschlikon, near Zurich.
The site is due to be opened next year and already has some of the most complex and advanced computer equipment in the world installed in it.
'A large quantity of explosives was found,' said a police spokesman.
He said the amount of explosive would have caused far more devastation than the Ruetli explosions of 2007. The Ruetli meadow near Lake Lucerne was the scene of small bombs detonated near the homes of politicians in that year.
IBM spokeswoman Susan Orozco confirmed 'an incident' but would not say more.
The Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office in Berne confirmed the arrest and said the investigation is 'ongoing'.
The IBM facility that the Il Silvestre group was targeting is still under construction. When finished, it will contain the most state-of-the-art facilities in Europe for nano-and-bio-technological research, with the probability of billions of pounds in profit for IBM.
Investigators are quizzing the suspects on whether the planned attack is part of a new co-ordinated wave of terror against such facilities on the continent.
Swiss media reported that the intended bombing was planned to coincide with a secret meeting of European anarchists on April 16 and 17 in the Swiss town of Winterthur.
Some newspapers speculated it was being planned to bring attention to the imprisonment of Il Silvestre member Marco Camenisch, currently in jail for the murder of a Swiss border guard. Guerini and Constantino were in jail with him in 2006 and joined in a hunger strike.
Il Silvestre was spawned in the Tuscan countryside and is now considered to be one of the rising terror groups in Europe with a rigid cell structure, access to explosives and a membership that has no qualms about killing to achieve its goals.
It is considered as one of the successor groups to the lethal Red Brigades that scorched Italy in 70's and 80's.