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US

Rudolph charged in Olympic bombing

Fugitive now linked to 4 blasts, authorities say

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In this story:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Eric Robert Rudolph, one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives for a fatal Alabama bombing earlier this year, was charged on Wednesday with three additional blasts, including a deadly explosion at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh announced at a Washington news conference that authorities now have enough evidence to support the new charges.

Rudolph, a 32-year-old native of North Carolina, was charged previously with the January bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama, women's clinic where abortions are performed. The explosion killed an off-duty police officer and wounded a nurse.

Atlanta bombings

New criminal complaints filed against Rudolph on Wednesday charge him with three unsolved explosions in Atlanta:

olympic park explosion
One person was killed and more than 100 others were injured in the Olympic Park bombing  

• July 1996 -- At Centennial Olympic Park during the Summer Games. A woman was killed and 110 people were injured.

• January 1997 -- In the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, near women's clinic where abortions are available. There were two explosions. The first bomb damaged an office building housing the clinic; the second bomb went off a short time later in the parking lot, as police and media gathered. In all, seven people were injured.

• February 1997 -- Outside the Otherside Lounge, a bar in Atlanta with a mostly lesbian clientele. Two people were injured. A second bomb was found and detonated by police.

Forensic tests show that nails and other materials taken from a North Carolina storage used by Rudolph are identical to components discovered in bomb fragments found at the scene of the attacks in Atlanta, sources told CNN.

However, a law enforcement source said authorities have not been able to confirm that Rudolph was in Atlanta at the time of the Atlanta bombings.

hunters
The FBI hopes hunters this season will pick up Rudolph's trail  

Manhunt

Last May, the FBI began offering a reward of up to $1 million to anyone who helps them find Rudolph. Despite that, he has managed to elude an intensive manhunt focused on western North Carolina, a wooded, mountainous region where Rudolph grew up.

He was seen in that area on January 30, the day after the bombing at the New Woman/All Women clinic in Birmingham.

A check of the North Carolina license plate on a pickup truck seen near the clinic around the time of the blast showed it was registered to Rudolph. The gray Nissan was found abandoned near Cherokee, North Carolina, about five miles from the mobile home where Rudolph lived.

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Rudolph, an accomplished outdoorsman, apparently retreated into the back country after abandoning his truck.

An intense search has turned up no trace of him, but in July, Rudolph showed up at the home of George Nordmann, his former neighbor and the owner of a health food store in the town of Andrews.

Rudolph reportedly gave Nordmann a handwritten grocery list requesting batteries, oatmeal, beans and enough other items to keep him supplied for a year. Nordmann described Rudolph as being unarmed, thinner, with a beard, longer hair and wearing full camouflage clothing, a law enforcement source told CNN at the time.

Nordmann provided Rudolph with some of the food items requested and arranged to meet with him again on the night of July 9 at Nordmann's home, so Rudolph could pick up the rest.

But Nordmann did not return home that evening and instead arrived a day later to discover that his blue Datsun pickup truck was missing along with about 50 to 75 pounds of food. Rudolph left five $100 bills as payment, the source said.

After Nordmann reported the theft, law enforcement agents converged on the area. The missing truck was discovered at a campground in the Nantahala National Forest.

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