Bomb rocks Radio Free Europe headquarters

A bomb that police suspect may have been planted by leftist extremists exploded in Munich the night of Feb. 21, injuring but not killing several employees of Radio Free Europe.

The American-sponsored Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty -- now in a single headquarters in Munich -- broadcast news, political commentary, and entertainment into Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in Russian, Polish, Czech , and 18 other languages. They are regularly assaulted by the Soviet and East European media -- especially in the period since the founding of the Polish free trade union and the resumption of Soviet and East European jamming of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle broadcasts.

The two services were secretly set up and financed by the CIA in the 1950s and '60s. When the CIA backing was disclosed publicly, their direction was officially turned over to an autonomous board, with open congressional funding.

The blast occured near the Czechoslovak broadcasting department, and caused considerable damage to the building and to cars in the area. A police spokesman said the bomb was thought to have been a 22-pound charge of plastic explosive.

The last terrorist bomb in West Germany also exploded in Munich, last fall, with 12 fatalities among visitors to the open-air Oktoberfest. The same team of explosive experts from the Oktoberfest blast are now working on the Radio Free Europe case.

Police believe that bomb was believed to have been set by a right-wing extremist who was himself killed in the e xplosion.

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