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Hazmat crews respond to report of white powder found at Israeli consulate

Hazardous materials crews went to the Boston Park Plaza hotel and towers today after a report of a suspicious white powder being found in an envelope at the Consulate General of Israel.

Security officials at the consulate found an envelope with a “powder-like substance” on the exterior. Inside the envelope, officials found a smaller envelope with a powder and the word “anthrax” written on it, according to an e-mail from Kelly Anne Smith, head of press and political affairs at the consulate.

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In the e-mail, Smith said the State Department and the FBI will “further investigate the situation, identify the suspicious substance, and properly dispose of it.”

“The item was field tested and indicated no immediate threat to public safety,” FBI Special Agent Greg Comcowich said. “Additional testing will be done.”

Following the initial response, the Israeli consulate closed for the day.

“Pending the results of testing to determine what exactly the substance reported at the Israeli consulate this afternoon, the office has been closed for the day,” Smith said in an e-mail.

According to police, the initial call came in at 12:19 p.m. The police, fire, and EMS departments are at the scene. A police spokeswoman said shortly before 1:30 p.m. that crews were shutting down Columbus Avenue in the area.

Boston Fire Department officials and hotel managers were not immediately available for comment.

Colin A. Young can be reached at
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