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FBI investigates dozens of suspicious letters found at DC schools

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FBI investigates dozens of suspicious letters found at DC schools

2011-05-07 00:53:05 GMT+7 (ICT)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the discovery of more than 30 suspicious letters which were sent to schools in Washington, D.C.

At least 29 suspicious letters containing a white powdery substance were mailed to schools in the District of Columbia on Thursday, while at least 2 more letters arrived at schools on Friday. All the letters are believed to be connected.

None of the letters were deemed hazardous, the FBI said, but numerous schools were evacuated and tied up hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources. The FBI's National Capital Response Squad also responded, as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Throughout the day on Thursday, local and federal hazardous material experts responded to each school location, assessing the level of risk, ensuring the threatening letters and substances were packaged safely for further analysis and determining no further risk existed at the schools.

In a statement, District of Columbia Public Schools said school staff who came into contact with the suspicious substance were quaranteed until the situation was deemed safe. "The safety of your students is one of our top priorities and we remain committed to ensuring that your students are safe and receiving a world-class education," a statement said.

Pursuant to protocol, each item packaged will be analyzed for hazardous substances by an approved regional lab before it is transported to the FBI's Laboratory at Quantico in Virginia. Experts there will perform a variety of tests in an effort to determine who sent the letters and whether the letters are linked to any other pending investigations.

According to the FBI Washington Field Office, initial indications are that the letters were mailed from the Dallas area and are similar in style and content to other suspicious letters under investigation by Dallas FBI and U.S. Postal Inspectors. In addition, they are similar to other letters received at some Washington, D.C. area schools in October 2010.

The addresses on the letters were printed, not handwritten, the FBI said. Each letter was addressed to a school and not a specific person, and one school received two letters.

Suspicious letters have especially been a concern since a series of letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several locations in the United States in September and October 2001, days after the terrorist attacks on September 11. The anthrax attacks, who are believed to have been carried out by microbiologist Bruce Edwards Ivins, left 5 people dead and 17 others infected.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-05-07

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