Behind the Birmingham Bomb

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: Could there be a link between Thursday's bombing of an Alabama abortion clinic, which killed an off-duty policeman, and previous similar attacks in nearby Atlanta including the Olympic Park bombing? TIME's Atlanta correspondent, Sylvester Monroe, reports that while there is a "psychological connection," it is still too early to draw any firm parallels. The bombs used in the two Atlanta attacks were pipe bombs packed with nails, and their resemblance could possibly indicate a single perpetrator. There is still no word from the FBI or ATF on the type of device used in Birmingham.

TIME legal correspondent Adam Cohen notes that Alabama is home to a loud and sometimes violent religious and anti-abortion movement; on-going debates over school prayer have polarized the state. "There are a lot of religious battles in the state," says Cohen. "Abortion has always had its own set of people who are angry about it." David Gunn, an Alabama doctor, was shot dead outside a Florida women's clinic in 1993. A number of Alabama-based clinics have been attacked in the past. Says Cohen: "This could be a strand of a very radical antiabortion movement that had nothing to do with the Olympics."