Date: Mon, 6 Dec 93 20:18 +0200 To: Ken McVay
Subject: ANTI-SEMITIC-LETTER-BOMBINGS-IN-AUSTRIA VIENNA, dec. 5 (AP) - Mayor Helmut Zilk, one of Austria's most respected and outspoken supporters of minority and Jewish rights, was seriously injured Sunday in the fifth letter bomb attack in Austria in three days. Zilk was rushed into emergency surgery shortly after the letter exploded at his home Sunday night. City officials who went to the hospital said fingers on his left hand would probably have to be amputated. But Zilk's life was not in danger, said Hans Mayr, Vienna's deputy mayor. Zilk's wife, Dagmar Koller, a well-known stage and television actress before her marriage, was being treated at the same hospital for shock, but was not injured, Mayr said. Government and police officials have worried that the rash of letter bombs, which began with two attacks on Friday, is linked to rising anti-foreigner sentiment. All the letters were the same size and thickness and bore the same kind of postage stamp, Michael Sika, a senior police official in Austria, told ORF2 television. "From what we have seen there is a connection to the other letter bombs," Mayr said. He urged "all people in public life to use extra care in opening and looking at their mail." Vienna's city council went into emergency session Sunday night to discuss the attack. Austria's President Thomas Klestil, who visited Zilk at the hospital, said he was "deeply dismayed and appalled" by the letter bombing. Austria has been spared the kind of xenophobic violence that has wracked neighboring Germany. But anti-foreigner sentiment is fueled in part by the influx of refugees from war-torn Yugoslavia, located just to the south. All of the letter-bomb recipients have had some links to refugee groups or minority issues. Zilk, a Social Democrat, was instrumental in opening the city's first post-war Jewish museum and has argued for understanding and moderation on such issues as immigration, which have polarized Austria's body politic.
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