'Army of God' letters claim responsibility for clinic bombing
February 2, 1998
A letter from the "Army of God" claimed responsibility for two Atlanta bombings last year
Web posted at: 6:19 p.m. EST (2319 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal law enforcement authorities have received two letters claiming responsibility for last week's bombing attack at a Birmingham, Alabama, women's clinic that left an off-duty police officer dead and a nurse critically wounded, CNN has learned.
The handwritten letter in block print bears the name "Army of God," the same person or group that claimed responsibility for Atlanta bombings last year at a gay nightclub and a clinic where abortions are performed.
A federal task force is investigating whether those two bombings were related to the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Games, which killed one person and injured more than 100 others.
The two new letters, one sent to the Reuters office in Atlanta and the other to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, appear very similar on their face to the earlier Army of God letter.
The letters have been sent to a federal law enforcement laboratory for analysis. Law enforcement sources caution that no final conclusions on the letters' authenticity have been reached.
Sources note that the newest letters are dissimilar to the earlier Army of God letter in a number of ways. For example, the new letters do not describe the content or style of the Birmingham bomb. The original Army of God letter detailed bomb components.
"But we've got to check it out," one source said.
Meanwhile, the condition of a nurse severely injured in the Birmingham bombing was upgraded Monday from critical to serious.
Police are still searching for Eric Robert Rudolph, whose pickup truck was seen near the Birmingham clinic shortly after the bomb went off
Emily Lyons, 41, the head nurse and counselor at the New Woman All Women clinic, remained hospitalized in intensive care Monday, University Hospital spokesman Hank Black said. She lost an eye, and her other eye was injured, as were her legs, hand and abdomen.
The Thursday morning bombing killed Robert D. Sanderson, 34, an off-duty police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard. It was the first fatal bombing in U.S. history at a clinic where abortions are performed.
Meanwhile, investigators continued the search for Eric Robert Rudolph, a North Carolina man whose pickup truck was seen near the Birmingham clinic shortly after the bomb went off.
Federal agents have said Rudolph, 31, is sought as a witness,
not as a suspect, and they are unsure if he is the man who reportedly was seen getting in the truck after the bombing.
Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.