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Bombs Explode in Rural Mailboxes

May 3, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Pipe bombs accompanied by anti-government notes exploded in rural mailboxes in Illinois and Iowa on Friday, injuring at least seven people, the post office said.

The bombs were set to explode when the mailboxes were opened, said Capt. Terry Glandon of the Scott County sheriff’s office in Iowa.

Carroll County, Ill., Sheriff Rod Herrick warned residents against opening mailboxes.

``I don’t want kids getting off the bus and opening the mailbox, or people coming home from work and opening their mailbox,″ he said. ``Don’t touch your mailbox until further notice.″

None of the reported injuries was life threatening, postal vice president Azeezaly Jaffer said. He said the bombs appeared to be triggered by being touched or moved.

The pipe bombs were attached to batteries, Jaffer said. He urged people in the area to call authorities if they find a pipe and battery inside their mailboxes.

Jaffer said the bombs were accompanied by a note, signed ``someone who cares,″ and saying that ``mailboxes are exploding! Why, you ask?″

Then it said, in part:

``If the government controls what you want to do they control what you can do. ... I’m obtaining your attention in the only way I can. More info is on its way. More ‘attention getters’ are on the way.″

The first incident occurred about 11 a.m. when a rural letter carrier delivering mail near Mt. Carroll, Ill., opened a mailbox and an explosion occurred, Jaffer said.

Other incidents occurred in Morrison, Ill.; Asbury, Iowa; Tipton, Iowa, and Elizabeth, Ill., he said.

Jaffer said the bombs were not sent through the mail but had been placed in the mailboxes.

An Illinois postal worker was treated at Morrison Community Hospital for injuries to her eyes, shoulder and thumb, hospital officials said. She was expected to be released.

Federal, state and local authorities were investigating, said Pete Sakaris, FBI special agent in Omaha, Neb.

The Davenport, Iowa, postmaster pulled his letter carriers off the street.

``If you see a letter carrier, tell them you heard on the radio that they should report to their post office,″ Postmaster Dan Foley said.