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U.S. Embassies Get Suspicious Powder

September 12, 2002

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BERLIN (AP) _ Envelopes containing a suspicious powder were delivered Wednesday to U.S. consulates in Germany and to the U.S. embassies in Denmark and Italy, officials said, prompting concern at diplomatic posts across Europe of a potential biological attack.

But U.S. officials in Washington said authorities believe the powder deliveries were hoaxes, but added the substances were still being tested Wednesday evening.

The deliveries were made to consulates in the German cities of Munich, Hamburg, Leipzig, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt, said Mark Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.

There was no indication that the powder, which was handed over to German authorities for analysis, was dangerous, Smith said. He added that he had no information on where the envelopes were mailed.

Envelopes containing powder also were delivered to the U.S. embassies in Rome and in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, and were undergoing analysis.

After last year’s Sept. 11 attacks, hundreds of suspicious packages with white powder were reported worldwide and several people in the United States died after the delivery of anthrax-tainted letters. Most of the suspicious deliveries were hoaxes.