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Shofar FTP Archive File: places/austria/press/bombings-arrests-1993

Archive/File: fascism/austria upi.121093
Last-Modified: 1993/12/17

From: (UPI)
Subject: Police arrest two right-wing extremists after letter bomb attacks
Copyright: 1993 by UPI, R
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 93 7:36:47 PST
	VIENNA (UPI) -- Police arrested two right-wing extremists following a
wave of letterbombs and sought more suspects who may be linked to neo-
Nazi groups in Germany, the interior minister said Friday.
	The main suspect, a 26-year-old electrician, was arrested by Czech
border guards who found weapons in his car as he tried to cross the
border on his way to Berlin.
	The man matched a picture police had sketched from information given
by a woman who said she saw him buying the stamps used on the packages
at a post office near Vienna.
	Ten letterbombs were sent, one of which ripped three fingers off the
left-hand of Vienna Mayor Helmut Zilk, one of the country's best-known
politicians. Three other bombs exploded and six were safely detonated.
	``We have a thread in our hands which we have to pull on,'' said
Michael Sika, the police officer leading the hunt for the suspects.
	``We have our first success ... but I think we have a long way to go
before we get to the bottom of this case.''
	Sika said police found glycerine and other bombi-making chemicals in
a flat in Schwechat outside Vienna owned by Alexander W., the other man
arrested. They also found an envelope similar to the ones used for the
letterbombs, Sika said.
	However, police called for more help from the public and warned there
may be further letterbombs.
	German police are also helping by trying to establish what contacts
the two suspects may have with right-wing groups in Germany where
attacks against foreigners have risen in recent years.
	However, a spokesman for the Bavarian intelligence service, who asked
not to be named, dismissed the suggested connections as ``nothing more
than an assumption at this stage.''
	The attacks have prompted a wave of soul-searching in Austria, a
country known as a haven of tranquility which has not taken sides an
international conflict since it became neutral in 1955.
	``Blood is flowing for the first time since the Second Republic came
into being (in 1945),'' said Hans Mayr, Zilk's deputy.
	The letterbombs included a note saying ``We will defend ourselves,''
a phrase made famous by Count Ernst Ruediger von Starhemberg who
defended Vienna against the massive Turkish siege in 1683 and has
recently been idolized in right-wing literature.
	That and the carefully chosen list of victims suggests the bombs are
a part of campaign against the growing number of illegal immigrants who
have entered Austria looking for work since communist regimes in central
and eastern Europe fell in 1990.
	The seven million Austrians also have taken in about 75,000 refugees
from the fighting in former Yugoslavia -- more per person than any other
country in Europe.
	The attacks began Dec. 10 when Silvana Meixner, a journalist at the
headquarters of Austrian television, lost one finger and was wounded in
the eye as she opened a letter addressed to her.
	Nine more bombs were sent, including two addressed to well-known
politicians from the left-wing Green Party and one to Helmut Schueller,
the priest who runs the Catholic charity Caritas and has been at the
forefront of a campaign to prevent an outbreak of the sort of anti-
foreigner violence seen in Germany recently.
	However, the attack on Helmut Zilk, Vienna's well-known mayor, caused
the most outrage.
	According to a report in the magazine News, the Vienna Town Hall has
special equipment to scan mail for possible explosives but the device is
not used on mail which is addressed ``personal.''
	Zilk was rushed to hospital after losing three fingers when he opened
the letterbomb which had been processed by town hall officials and
brought to his private appartment.
	Earlier this year, Zilk, Schueller and others formed a broad alliance
including rock musicians and actors intended to counter-act a campaign
by right-wing politicians, who they said were blaming rising
unemployment and crime on the growing number of foreigners in Austria.
	With a series of concerts and candle-carrying demonstrations the
group managed to derail plans by Joerg Haider, the leader of the right-
wing Freedom Party, who was determined to change the constitution to
forbid immigration to Austria.

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