By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
A 38 year old man with psychiatric background has partially detonated an improvised explosive device in a university lecture room in the city of Iasi, in north-eastern Romania, sparking panic among the exam sitting students who escaped unscathed from what authorities say it was an isolated incident, but which could have triggered a tragedy.
The man, a nine time admitted patient in a local psychiatric clinic, carried an improvised explosive device which contained a Second World War unexploded 100 mm shell and a five liter gasoline canister. The suspect only managed to detonate the staple, injuring himself before being immobilized by one of the 40 students in the hall.
He went into the room and threatened he would detonate the explosive unless the police shows up, arguing he has claims to negotiate with the policemen. The dean of the Telecommunication Faculty who was supervising an exam tried to negotiate the release of the students when an explosion occurred.
The police apprehended the suspect amid an ample anti-terror operation in Iasi which also saw Romania’s domestic intelligence experts being flown to the city which hosts the oldest university in Romania. The home intelligence service denied any connection between the man and any terror organization, pointing towards an individual act.
Neighbors describe the 38 year old Oliver Stan Florin as a recluse who has abandoned his studio in Iasi to live in a cave in Eastern Carpathians. He was diagnosed in 2006 with schizophrenia and has been admitted nine times in a psychiatric hospital ever since. He is said to be also suffering from mystical delirium, calling himself a Messiah.
According to the local bomb squad, the 100 mm shell would have killed all the persons in the university lecture room had the perpetrator managed to detonate it. The policemen said the device was well prepared which means the man had prepared the attack carefully. A mere technical mistake prevented a tragedy from taking place, they added.
Reacting to the incident in Iasi, Romanian PM Victor Ponta underlined such situations are hard to anticipate due to social isolation of the perpetrator.