Death threat mailed to French president

March 3, 2009 12:24:35 PM PST
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and three top government ministers have been sent anonymous death threats in letters stuffed with bullets, a judicial official said Tuesday. Counterterrorism agents are investigating the mailings to Sarkozy, Justice Minister Rachida Dati, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Culture Minister Christine Albanel -- the latest members of the governing conservative party to be targeted by such a letter campaign, the officials said.

The two-page, typed form letters feature disjointed messages addressed to "purveyors of freedom-killing and fascist laws," the judicial official said. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The Associated Press saw a copy of the letter, which speaks of a mysterious "Cell 34" and evokes 1,000 combatants before concluding, "This letter is the last. There will be a black out. Total silence."

The official said the letters contained 9 mm or .38-caliber bullets.

A total of 10 politicians were named in the letter -- and seven of them have already received one, the official said. Neither the author of the letter nor a possible motive is known, she said. It was not clear where the letters were mailed from.

The letter to Sarkozy's office was received Feb. 26, according to prosecutors. The presidential Elysee Palace said earlier Tuesday it had not received such a letter.

Bordeaux City Hall reported that Mayor Alain Juppe -- a former conservative prime minister -- had also been mailed such a letter and bullet.

Two senators from Sarkozy's party received similar threats last week.

"I'm staying completely calm," Juppe told reporters Tuesday in the southwestern French city. "It's the job of police services to analyze things, and take the proper measures. I have no intention of changing my agenda."

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