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Bombs Found at National Guard Base

July 20, 2000

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ A man apparently angry about U.S. involvement in Kosovo broke into an Air National Guard base Wednesday, scrawled graffiti and dropped a shopping bag containing two pipebomb-type explosives as security guards ran after him, the FBI said. The bombs did not explode.

The FBI searched for the man.

``We are taking this as a very serious act of international terrorism,″ FBI agent Brian Manganello said.

The FBI said the man spray-painted red graffiti on two buildings and a satellite dish. A view of the 128th Air Refueling Wing base from a TV helicopter showed the words ``Free Kosova″ scrawled on the dish. Kosova is the Albanian name for Kosovo.

During the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia in 1999, the 128th Air Refueling Wing sent about 170 members to a base outside London, where they serviced aircraft flying in NATO’s air operations in Kosovo.

Judging by the graffiti, ``it was someone who was opposed to the U.S. involvement,″ FBI agent Barry Babler said.

Investigators would not specify what the graffiti said.

Regular personnel were not on the base when security guards spotted the man about 5 a.m. Wednesday. The guards chased him into a field, where he dropped the bag containing two round devices similar to pipebombs, Manganello said.

A bomb squad defused the devices, he said.

The base was closed after the incident, and 150 to 175 personnel were given leave, said Lt. Col. Jim Waters. A sign reading ``actual threat condition″ was posted outside the gate.

David J. Williams, FBI special agent in charge, said his agency was comparing a similar ``incendiary attack″ which occurred at an Army reserve center in Milwaukee on March 17.

``There were also some spray painting things there that would indicate that possibly they could have come from the same author,″ Williams told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.

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