April 1, 1997

FBI examines letter said to be from 'Army of God'

ATLANTA (Reuter) - The FBI said Tuesday it was trying to determine whether a second letter purported to be from the Army of God was authentic or part of an April Fools' Day hoax.

A single copy of the letter was received by local Fox television affiliate WAGA-TV. The station's news staff said they decided not to publicize its contents after turning it over to federal investigaters.

The Army of God, a shadowy group of Christian militants, resurfaced in February when an anonymous letter claimed the organization was responsible for bombing a gay and lesbian nightclub days earlier and an abortion clinic in January.

That letter, handwritten with a black felt-tip pen and sent to several news organizations including Reuters, also established a code for identifying future communications from the group. Fox News officials said Tuesday's letter did not contain the code and carried no reference to the abortion clinic and nightclub bombings.

``It's on letterhead and it's typed. It's a little different,'' FBI spokesman Jay Spadafore said. ``Obviously, we can't say it's authentic. We haven't evaluated it yet. But I suspect that others will crop up.''

The abortion clinic and nightclub bombings injured at least a dozen people only months after a powerful pipe bomb exploded in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park last July at the height of the Summer Games, leaving two people dead and more than 100 injured. There have been no arrests in any of the three cases.