Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Breaking: Possible anthrax in threatening letter

Today in Sri Lanka, the "UN Department of Safety and Security (at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka)" sent out an advisory notice after receiving a letter with a white powdery substance in it. There is a letter was sent by deputy security advisor, UN DSS to all their contacts and UN offices and it states:
“At this stage it is not known whether any threat to health is emanating from the substance in the letter. There have been cases in the U.S. where letters containing the Bacillus Anthracis (anthrax) have been received. In some cases anthrax exposure took place, with several persons becoming infected. Laboratory tests will have to be conducted in order to rule out this possibility in case of the threat letter that was received by the local agency.

There is a remote likelihood that similar envelopes, whether it being a hoax or a real threat, could be sent to other agencies. It is of critical importance that the first response steps are followed. These have been laid out in the SOP in mail handling, which was distributed to all HoA before.

Due to the urgency of the matter please find below guidelines and ensure that your mail handling staff are IMMEDIATELY informed of them. Agencies in Colombo are requested to provided feedback that mail handling staff have been informed back to the EOC Colombo until 1600 hrs today, ASCs are advised to instruct agencies in their AOR likewise.”
As of right now, it is being investigated by the proper authorities. However, this is not the first time Sri Lanka has had to deal with threats from terrorists. In the 1980's, the Tamil militants (unidentified) "issued threat to use biological materials against the Sinhalese". They never did anything, but that was then. This is now. They have had time, interest, and know how in biological weapons since then.

Let us all pray that this is just a prank...

Source: CounterTerrorismBlog: Letter with Suspicious Powder (Anthrax?) Surfaces at Colombo Office, Advisory Issued by UNDSS, By Animesh Roul.

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