Xenophobic bombers go for Austrian liberals

Austrian crime investigators have called on German expertise in their efforts to track down an obscure right-wing extremist group believed to be behind xenophobic letter bombs.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said yesterday that four anti- terrorist specialists from Germany had arrived in Vienna. At the same time, however, he warned that more attacks could be on the way.

Austrians were put on a state of alert over the weekend after three people were injured in two letter bomb explosions on Friday in the city of Linz and the nearby Bavarian city of Munich. Anxieties rose further on Tuesday after a letter bomb mailed from Austria went off in the north German city of Lubeck, injuring a politician.

All three bombs in the latest wave have been claimed by an Austrian-based underground group calling itself the Bavarian Liberation Army (BBA). This group has also claimed responsibility for two other waves of letter bomb attacks in December 1993 and October 1994 and the killing of four gypsies in a bomb attack this February. The BBA sees Austria as an integral part of a greater Germany - in common with all far-right extremist groups in both countries. It is also virulently xenophobic.

Friday's letter bombs were directed against a dating agency based in Linz that specialises in pairing east European women with Austrian men and an Austrian-born television presenter of German-Ghanaian parentage who lives in Munich.

Tuesday's bomb was addressed to Lubeck's deputy mayor, Dietrich Sazmeit, a critic of the mild sentences given to four right-wing extremists convicted of firebombing a synagogue in Lubeck in 1994.

The targeting of people known for their pro-foreigner, or racially tolerant, attitudes is in keeping with the pattern established in the previous bombings. According to Austrian experts on right-wing extremists, it also marks a radical departure for such groups.

"The people behind the letter bombs are quite different to the more common neo-Nazi thugs who hurl firebombs at asylum-seekers," said Wolfgang Neugebauer, of Vienna's anti-Fascist Documentation Centre. "Their methods are much more sophisticated. And instead of going for foreigners, they are going for people who are simply friendly towards foreigners."

In a letter purportedly sent by the BBA to Profil magazine, the organisation has drawn up a hitlist of 10 leading Austrian politicians, musicians and television personalities. All those mentioned on the list have so far said they will refuse to be intimidated. According to Mr Neugebauer, failure to capture those behind the bombs could lead to some form of self-censorship. "People may want to be a little more careful about what they say in future - particularly in public," he said.

Although very little is known about the BBA, officials in Vienna believe it has a very limited membership of technically skilled people who are probably in their fifties. In a bid to calm criticism of the police's failure to capture those responsible, Caspar Einem, the Austrian Interior Minister, earlier this week described the group as "extremely intelligent assailants who have yet to make any mistakes ... that is why the investigation has been so difficult."

In addition to calling in German investigators, Mr Einem said Austrian scientists and technicians would be enlisted to help in a special task force to be set up for the investigation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Courtney Love has admitted using heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean Cobain, her daughter with Kurt Cobain
people
Sport
Murray celebrates reaching the final
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Secretary

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This major European Intellectual Propert...

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£130 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher Jan 2015 - July...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - 9-12 Months

£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Accounts Assistant is immedi...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness