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Pipe Bombs Explode in Several US Mailboxes - 2002-05-04


Several people in the Midwest states of Illinois and Iowa have been injured by pipe bombs. The U.S. Postal Service says several of the devices were detonated Friday in rural mailboxes.

U.S. Postal Service inspector Linda Jensen says the explosive devices have been found in at least seven mailboxes in small towns in the northwestern part of Illinois and the eastern part of Iowa.

"At this point it appears the devices were intended to detonate when they were removed from the rural mailboxes," she said. "Postal inspectors are urging all customers to be cautious when opening their mailboxes this afternoon."

On Friday, several postal carriers and at least one customer were injured when the small bombs exploded when they opened mailboxes. Officials in both states say none of the injuries are life-threatening.

Postal officials say the bombs were not sent through the mail, but had been placed in mailboxes. All of the devices were attached to batteries. Officials say all of the bombs were accompanied by a note in a plastic bag, reading in part: "If the government controls what you want to do, they control what you can do. I am obtaining your attention the only way I can." The letters are signed, "someone who cares."

In Davenport, Iowa, the local postmaster ordered his letter carriers off the street to prevent further injuries. One postal worker in Illinois was treated for injuries to her eyes, shoulder and thumb. Federal, state and local authorities are investigating this matter.

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