Common link sought in mailings
January 3, 1997
Web posted at: 9:50 p.m. EST
LEAVENWORTH, Kansas (CNN) -- Another letter bomb was
discovered Friday in Kansas, a day after federal officials
found seven letter bombs disguised as holiday cards at the
federal prison in Leavenworth and in the Washington area.
Friday's discovery by a postal worker at a post office
outside the penitentiary came as the FBI investigated
possible links among the eight bombs. A key figure in the
World Trade Center bombing, who is an inmate at the prison,
may be the common denominator, sources told CNN.
All three letters found in Leavenworth were addressed to the
parole officer at the prison, FBI agents said.
No one has been injured by the bombs, but the FBI is taking
the threat very seriously and has issued a list of possible
telltale signs the public should watch for when opening mail.
"We are treating it as a terrorism matter," FBI spokeswoman
Susan Lloyd said.
The agency has no suspects but has mobilized its Cairo-based
legal attaché and its terrorism task force in Washington,
Inmates being scrutinized
Officials have said the FBI is examining the Leavenworth
inmate population, which includes Mohammed Salameh who was
one of four people convicted in the World Trade Center
"It's way too early to tell, but that's one of the things
that's being looked at," an official close to the probe,
speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN late Thursday.
On Thursday, four similar letter bombs were found at the
Washington office of an Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat, at the
National Press Building -- two blocks from the White House --
and one was found at a post office handling the newspaper's
mail. The Al-Hayat is owned by a member of the Saudi royal
In Leavenworth, postal workers "were on the lookout for
something like that," FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said from
Kansas City, Missouri, about the letter bomb found at the
"Postal inspectors are taking a much closer look now at
things coming through at that post office. People are coming
in from Washington, explosive experts, to defuse the bomb
and examine the evidence."
The eight bombs were in holiday cards postmarked from
Alexandria, Egypt, in plain, white 5.5-inch by 6.5-inch
envelopes with computer-generated addresses and no return
addresses, the FBI said. Some were postmarked December 21.
"These would have gone off. They weren't duds," Lanza said.
"They would have caused serious harm had they exploded."
Of the bombs found Thursday, two were detonated by
authorities and the envelopes were destroyed. But the five
others were "fairly whole" and were being examined in the
FBI laboratory in Washington, the FBI said.
The FBI warned the public to be wary of similar cards.
"We're concerned that there could be additional such letters
still in the mail," the FBI's Raymond Mislock said. "We would
very much like anyone who identifies a similar piece of mail
not to touch it or disturb it any way."
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