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Atlanta Bombers Claim Latest Clinic Attack

Army of God: The antiabortion group sends message to media about Birmingham blast. More fatal assaults are threatened.

February 03, 1998|J.R. MOEHRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ATLANTA — The same shadowy group that took responsibility for two bombings in Atlanta last year now claims to have planted the bomb that ripped through a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic last week, killing one off-duty police officer and critically injuring a nurse.

Letters sent Monday to the Reuters news agency and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said the crude, homemade bomb that ripped through the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic on Thursday was the work of the Army of God, a militant religious group that has surfaced repeatedly in investigations of abortion violence over the last 15 years.

Handwritten in heavy, capitalized block script, the latest letters strongly resemble those sent to news organizations last year after bombings of an Atlanta abortion clinic and a gay nightclub.

Monday's letters describe how the Birmingham bombing was carried out; last year's letters contained specific information about ingredients used in the Atlanta bombs.

At a news conference here last June, officials released excerpts from the Army of God letters, hoping someone would recognize the strange writing or the angry antiabortion, anti-government language. Similar language appears in Monday's letters, as do similar misspellings and grammatical errors.

Last year's letters also were sent to the Atlanta newspaper and Reuters, along with WSB-TV, Atlanta's ABC station, and Atlanta's NBC News bureau.

Agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were unavailable to comment Monday.

Many were attending the funeral of 35-year-old Robert Sanderson, an eight-year veteran of the Birmingham Police Department who was arriving at the New Woman clinic when the bomb went off.

Sanderson had moonlighted for roughly three years as the clinic's security guard.

A nurse and counselor at the clinic, 41-year-old Emily Lyons, lost an eye in the attack.

Birmingham police officials wouldn't say how Monday's letters fit with their search for a man said to be driving a pickup truck with North Carolina license plates.

Police have described the man only as a key "witness" in the bombing.

The letter sent Monday to Reuters reads as follows:

"The bombing in Birmingham was carried out by the Army of God. Let those who work in the murder mill's [sic] around the nation be warned once more--you will be targeted without quarter--you are not immune from retaliation. Your commissar's [sic] in Washington can't protect you!

"With the distrobution [sic] of the genocidal pill RU-486 it is hoped the resistance will end. We will target anyone who manufactures, markets, sells and distrobtes [sic] the pill.

"Death to the New World Order."

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