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Friday, October 14, 2005

Oklahoma: Not OK?

I'm in Tulsa briefly and found out today about an Associated Press news story I completely missed. This occured about two weeks ago in Norman, OK, outside the Oklahoma University football stadium -- roughly during halftime of a game against Kansas State:
Joel Henry Hinrichs III died Saturday when explosives - made of hydrogen peroxide, not fertilizer - strapped to his body detonated while he sat on a park bench about 100 yards from the stadium.

Nobody else was injured, and FBI and university officials have said there was no indication he tried to get in the stadium or that he had any links to terrorism.
Remember "Black Sunday," the terror/disaster movie from the '70s?

The AP report notes that the student bomber "tried to buy fertilizer of the type used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing two days before he committed suicide." Representative Tom Cole says that the FBI told him that they do not know whether or not the student tried to enter the stadium. The AP story is a bit one-sided in that regard, since they just don't know.

Investigators found a good deal more explosive material in the bomber's apartment.

Combined with some other facts, this certainly led to some wild rumors. The bomber's roommate was Pakistani and he lived very close to a mosque -- something presumably rare in Norman, OK.

At first, some thought this might be international terrorism. Again, from the AP:
...some people incorrectly concluded early on that the Oklahoma City bombing was the work of a Middle Eastern terrorist.

"As we all now know, the person responsible was not someone from the Middle East..." the statement [from OU President and former US Senator David Boren] read.

Police led Hinrichs' roommate and three other Muslim students from a party after Saturday's explosion, Ashraf Hussein, president of the Muslim Student Association, has said. All were later released.
It was certainly an angle that was investigated:
Cole said he asked the agent specifically whether jihadist material was found in the apartment, which was widely reported on Internet sites. "He told me there was absolutely none - nothing that would suggest links to terrorist groups."
In any case, given that this occured so close to a stadium packed with 80,000 people, you'd think it would have made bigger news.

The entire tale reminds me just a little of the under-reported story from 2003 about William Krar.

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