February 25, 1997 in Nation/World

‘Army Of God’ Says It Bombed Nightclub, Clinic Authorities Check Authenticity Of Letter Attacking ‘New World Order’

Washington Post

Federal authorities are trying to determine the authenticity of a letter purportedly from a militant Christian group claiming responsibility for the recent bombings of an abortion clinic and nightclub popular with gay men and lesbians in Atlanta.

The letter, which claims to be from a group calling itself “Army of God,” promises to fight the “new world order” and called for “total war” against the federal government, homosexuals and those involved in abortion, which the letter called “murder,” federal investigators said Monday.

The letter also mentioned April 19, which will be the fourth anniversary of the end of the bloody federal law enforcement confrontation with the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas, that left scores of cult members dead. It is also the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

The disclosure of the letter, which was postmarked Saturday from Atlanta, comes after a bomb exploded Friday night and injured at least four people at the Atlanta club. Police found a second bomb in the club’s parking lot.

Law enforcement officials familiar with both Friday’s attack and the assault on the suburban Atlanta abortion clinic last month said there were important similarities in both the devices and the circumstances surrounding the attacks.

In both attacks, high explosives - most likely dynamite - were used. In each instance, two bombs were placed and deployed similarly - with one bomb placed near potential victims inside the targeted establishment and the other outside the building. Law enforcement officials think the second bombs were aimed at maiming or killing rescue workers and police officers.

The letter received Monday offers details about the bomb construction and discusses how authorities will know if future bombings can be attributed to the letter writers. Federal and city authorities have said they are investigating the possibility of a serial bomber or bombers. They also note that there are some similarities between Friday’s bombing and last summer’s bomb attack during the Olympic games.

The White House said Monday that President Clinton was concerned about the bombing but not ready to conclude it was motivated by bias against homosexuals.

“We cannot declare a motive or declare that this has been directed against any particular community,” said White House press secretary Michael McCurry.

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