Is the New Abortion Clinic Bomb a Rudolph Message?

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Is Eric Robert Rudolph taunting the feds? That question was simply irresistible after an explosion Sunday at a North Carolina abortion clinic in Asheville, N.C., near Rudolph's presumed hideout in the Nantahala National Forest. "It's certainly possible because it's in his neighborhood, it's an abortion clinic and it's his modus operandi -- although at this stage it's all speculation," says TIME Atlanta bureau chief Sylvester Monroe. "Not for long, though -- the feds recovered enough forensic evidence to determine quickly whether this was Rudolph's handiwork."

Special Report Rudolph, who is wanted for bomb attacks on an Alabama abortion clinic and on the Atlanta Olympic games has been on the run for 14 months. "If indeed he's still in the area, he's unlikely to be hiding alone in the woods," says Monroe. "It's more likely that he's being hidden, warm and safe and watching cable TV somewhere." Rudolph may be wanted for killer bomb attacks, but he remains something of a local hero in a community that has little enthusiasm for federal agents. And if the Asheville bomb bears his forensic "fingerprints," they'll hint that a year on the lam has left him feeling pretty lucky.

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