Right-wing Austrians Suspect in Letter Bombings in Germany

A letter bomb that exploded recently at the city hall in the northern German city of Lubeck may have been connected to last year’s arson attempt at the local synagogue.

The bomb was addressed to the city’s deputy mayor, Dieter Szameit, who had called for stern action against neo-Nazi groups in the wake of a firebombing at the Lubeck synagogue in March 1994.

Last year’s incident was the first firebombing of Jewish house of worship in Germany since the days of the Third Reich.

The Lubeck synagogue was also the target of a failed arson attempt in May.

The letter bomb arrived at the offices of the Social Democratic Party at the Lubeck city hall and was opened by party official Thomas Roter because Szameit was away on vacation. Roter suffered severe wounds to his hands.

Authorities think that the letter bomb might have been the work of an Austrian extremist group.

Roter told police that before opening the envelope, he had noticed that it had an Austrian stamp. Two Austrian extremist organizations, the Bavarian Liberation Army and the Salzburg Veterans, have claimed responsibility for a series of 18 letter-bomb attacks in the past 17 months.

One such letter reached Vienna’s former mayor, Helmut Zilk, whose left hand was torn to pieces in the explosion.

All the letters have been addressed to people who were active in pro-immigrant human right groups.

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