Anthrax scare was a false alarm

24th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

24 November 2003 AMSTERDAM — Initial laboratory test results have indicated that no anthrax spores were contained in a suspect powder letter which forced the closure of Breda Court on Friday morning.About 450 people were ordered to remain inside the building after the suspect letter addressed to a judge was discovered in the court's postal room. The letter was written in English and contained a suspect powder.Alarmed authorities prevented anyone from entering the building for three and half hours and urge

24 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — Initial laboratory test results have indicated that no anthrax spores were contained in a suspect powder letter which forced the closure of Breda Court on Friday morning.

About 450 people were ordered to remain inside the building after the suspect letter addressed to a judge was discovered in the court's postal room.  The letter was written in English and contained a suspect powder.

Alarmed authorities prevented anyone from entering the building for three and half hours and urged the 450 people trapped inside to restrict their movements. Police gave the all clear at about 2pm, but anyone who possibly came in contact with the letter were ordered to shower before leaving the building.

Police have not revealed who the letter was sent to, nor have any announcements been made about the substance contained in the envelope. Six police officers have been assigned to the case.

A police spokeswoman said it is standard procedure that a building is hermetically sealed after a suspect letter is found. One man who grow tired of waiting left the court building via the emergency exit and authorities failed to apprehend him.

The incident came after the court in Dordrecht was also temporarily sealed off on Thursday after a suspect letter was found. The letter was addressed to court president judge W. van Veen, who has since lodged a police complaint. It is not yet known if there is link between the Breda and Dordrecht incidents.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, five people died and 17 were injured in the US when anthrax in powder form was sent through the mail, sparking global concern of biological terror attacks.

Envelopes with white powder soon started arriving in mailboxes right across the globe, including the Netherlands. Most were found to be harmless and Dutch authorities prosecuted several people for sending "joke" anthrax letters.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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