Federal agents Monday asked the public to help identify the author of a letter that claims responsibility for two bombings in Atlanta earlier this year, at an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub.
“There is evidence suggesting that the author of letter was involved in the bombings in some manner,” FBI supervisory agent Jack Daulton said at press conference in Atlanta.
The handwritten letter, penned under the name “Army of God,” suggests the January and February attacks were carried out by a right-wing political group or extremist who is a “violent opponent of abortion, homosexuality and the federal government,” Daulton said.
Federal agents also announced for the first time Monday their growing belief that the abortion clinic and nightclub attacks may be connected as well to last summer’s deadly explosion at Centennial Olympic Park.
Eleven people were injured in the night club attack. The Olympic park bombing left two people dead and 111 injured.
“It’s fair to say we are all but certain that the last two attacks are linked,” said John C. Killorin, head of the Atlanta bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in a telephone interview. “And we have increasing confidence that the Centennial Park bombing is part of this too.”
Investigators have also looked into possible links between three bomb blasts in the Spokane Valley last year and the Atlanta bombing.
An Atlanta architect told The Spokesman-Review he saw Robert S. Berry, one of four North Idaho men charged with the Valley bombings, heading into Centennial Park about an hour before the bombing.
Laboratory analysis has produced a list of what sources say are definitive similarities between the abortion clinic and nightclub bombings.
The design of the bombs was almost identical, and investigators have matched key components and tool markings from bomb fragments recovered at both sites. In both incidents, dynamite was used, and bombers left secondary bombs to maim or kill incoming rescue and police personnel.
Investigators also have discovered that shrapnel in those two attacks apparently came from the same foundry or smelter as the metal fragments from the Centennial Park bombing.
Officials announced that all three investigations have been consolidated into one joint probe. Federal officials firmly believe they are chasing a serial bomber or bombers who may attack again.
“What’s important to remember is that the threat remains,” Killorin said.
The Army of God is a name that has been used by a loose-knit collection of militants who advocate attacking abortion clinics. The name gained notoriety in the early 1980s when persons claiming to operate under its sanction claimed responsibility for kidnapping an abortion provider. Some authorities believe that the author of the letter is simply using the Army of God name and is not likely part of a conspiracy.
But law-enforcement officials who fear more attacks may come, belive that the Army of God letter is authentic. The letter is full of hatred, conviction and anger indicative of a person who is fully capable of killing, they said.
The letter, which was mailed to a number of news organizations, says: “The murder of 3.5 million children will not be tolerated. Those who participate, in any way, in the murder of children may be targeted for attack.”
The letter also railed against homosexuals, whom the author described as “sodomites” and said, “We will target sodomites. …” In addition, hatred for federal authorities and a fear that the U.S. government is the pawn of an international conspiracy were expressed. “We declared and will wage total war,” the author writes. “Death to the New World Order.”
Federal authorities say they hope someone will recognize the writer’s handwriting, poor grammar and phrasing of words. Daulton made specific reference to a number of phrases, including “ungodly communist regime in New York” and “legislative bureaucratic lackeys in Washington.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the toll-free number 1-888-ATF-BOMB.
Officials also released composite sketches of two men seen in the vicinity of the bombed abortion clinic - one the night before the attack, the other the morning of the assault. It is unclear whether autorities believe the men are witnesses or suspects.
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