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Palestinian Embassy Gets Bad Mail

March 18, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ The Palestinian Embassy in Moscow received an envelope Monday containing unidentified white powder and has sent it to experts for inspection, the embassy press service said.

The envelope was addressed to Palestinian Ambassador Hairi al-Oridi, the press service said. A secretary discovered the powder, which was sent to the Moscow epidemiological center for testing to see if it contained anthrax or any other dangerous substance.

The press service released no other details.

The Interfax news agency said the letter was sent to the embassy from St. Petersburg but had no return address or name.

Hundreds of cases of mail containing suspicious powder were reported in Russia after the anthrax scare in the United States last fall, but anthrax was confirmed present in only one case. A diplomatic mailbag sent from Washington to the U.S. consulate in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg tested positive for what was described as a negligible amount of anthrax spores.

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