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ASHES OF WACO MAY STILL BE SMOLDERING

One of the two men who had been sought in the deadly bombing in Oklahoma City is accused of blowing up the federal building to get even with the federal government for the Branch Davidian inferno on the same date two years earlier, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Contents of the document were revealed last night during the arraignment of Timothy McVeigh, 27, who was arrested earlier on Friday as he sat in the Noble County Courthouse Jail on an unrelated gun possession charge.Except for the conspiring forces of police luck and fate, he would have been released where he had been locked up since shortly after the explosion.

The second man sought in the case drove up to the police station in Herington, Kan., in a pickup and surrendered to police, officials said. He was not immediately charged and was said to be cooperating with authorities.

Authorities identified the two as McVeigh, 27, who was arrested in Perry on a traffic violation 90 minutes after the Wednesday morning blast, and Terry Nichols, described by a Justice Department spokesman as "generally" matching the composite sketch of the thick-haired, square-jawed suspect identified only as John Doe in a federal warrant.

Authorities described the two as longtime associates who, they believe, might have ties to a right-wing paramilitary group.

McVeigh was flown from Perry in a military helicopter and taken to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, where he was arraigned Thursday night in a makeshift courtroom.

Arrest warrants, originally issued for two men identified only as "John Does" accuse them of parking a bomb-laden truck in front of the federal building just minutes before its deafening explosion ripped it open, killing what officials now expect to be more than 100 people. More than 400 others were injured and about 125 were missing and presumed buried under tons of concrete and steel. The official death toll rose to 78 during the evening.

Authorities say they believe McVeigh rented the truck in Junction, Kan., using a fictitious name and North Dakota driver's license with an issuance date of April 19, 1993, the same day that the Branch Davidian compound near Waco erupted in flames to end the cult's 51-day siege with federal agents. Cult leader David Koresh and about 80 of his followers, many of them children, died in the blaze.

April 19 also was the day of the explosion in Oklahoma City, and authorities were trying Friday to determine if there was a link between the bombing and Davidian inferno.

The New York Times reported that authorites suspect McVeigh was a sympathizer of the Branch Davidians.

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who Thursday announced a $2 million reward for information leading to the arrests and conviction of the bombers, said more arrests are expected.

She also said the arrests should put to rest fears that the Oklahoma bombing was the work of international terrorists.

"Every evidence indicates that it is domestic in nature."

Federal agents late Friday also were questioning Nichols' brother, James Douglas Nichols, the owner of a Michigan farm that was raided by the FBI earlier in the day.

McVeigh had been in the fourth-floor jail at the Noble County Courthouse in Perry since state trooper Charles Hanger stopped him for driving without a license tag on his car.

After word spread that one of the suspected bombers was in custody there, several hundred people - the media as well as curious townspeople - surrounded the 80-year-old limestone courthouse.

Perry residents expressed their anger, but the crowd was not rowdy. One man held a crude sign that said, "Oklahoma justice: Hang the sucker." An elderly woman standing nearby said, "We all feel like that."

Mark Gibson, an assistant district attorney in Noble County, said Hanger stopped McVeigh on Interstate 35.

When Hanger noticed a bulge in the driver's jacket, Gibson said, McVeigh volunteered that he had a loaded 9mm Glock pistol in a shoulder holster.

McVeigh was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully transporting a loaded firearm.

How the FBI identified McVeigh as one of the men depicted in the sketches released Thursday was not immediately clear late Friday.