- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2008

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The U.S., British and Israeli embassies each received packages containing a suspicious powder yesterday, creating a security scare in which some staff members were evacuated and police cordoned off nearby streets, police said.

The powder proved to be harmless in each case, an Australian Federal Police spokesman said on the condition of anonymity, citing police policy.

Police would not detail their security response.

They blocked traffic to the diplomatic precinct and a fire engine was sent to the scene.


The capital has experienced a series of similar incidents in recent years. Police have not revealed a motive.

The Israeli Embassy was the first to raise the alarm at 11:45 a.m., followed by the U.S. and then the British.

Israeli Embassy spokesman Dor Shapira told Israel Radio that the mission was operating as usual by last night.

“It’s not known what it was, but it’s known that it wasn’t dangerous,” Mr. Shapira said. “So we’ve returned to normal activity.”

He said the envelopes sent to the other two embassies were similar.

Mr. Shapira said the police are investigating who sent the envelopes but did not give any other details.