The destruction of four luxury homes Monday suggest the involvement of the extremist Earth Liberation Front.
In recent years, it seemed as though law-enforcement agencies had finally been able to achieve major breakthroughs against "ecoterrorism" carried out by environmental and animal-rights radicals, much of it in the Pacific Northwest.
But the arson fires involving several new luxury homes near Seattle Monday indicate that small, self-contained cells of saboteurs continue to plot and carry out attacks in the name of environmental activism, officials say.
"Even though the number of spectacular arsons in the name of ELF [Earth Liberation Front] and ALF [Animal Liberation Front] decreased in the past couple of years, the level of criminal activity carried out on behalf of these movements has not slowed down a bit," says Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism in New York.
"For every successful conviction in an older ELF or ALF attack, there are dozens of new actions being planned and carried out, and not just against property. The deliberate targeting of individuals has become even more widespread and violent."
In this week's attack, four new unoccupied homes in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville were destroyed or damaged. Explosive devices were found along with a sign in which ELF took responsibility.
The "Street of Dreams" development, including large homes listed at more then $1 million, featured environmentally friendly design and construction elements. But critics had complained that the project could damage the nearby stream habitat of endangered chinook salmon.
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