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Mails containing suspicious powder reached Capitol Hill: report

(Xinhua)

15:16, February 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. lawmakers' congressional offices on Capitol Hill were targeted by mails containing suspicious powder, media reported Monday.

"In addition to the suspicious letters sent to Senate state offices last week, similar letters addressed to Senate offices in (Washington) D.C. have been received," the Hill newspaper, which specializes in reporting the Congress, quoted Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer as saying.

The letters were intercepted at the Senate's off-site mailing screening facility and all tests thus far have indicated the letters contained no hazardous materials, he noted in an email to Senate offices.

"Arrival of the letters in D.C. today is further evidence of the bothersome commitment of the individual or group behind these mailings," Gainer said. "All staff, here in D.C. and in the state offices, should remain vigilant and follow our established mail-handling protocols."

Last week, district offices for lawmakers including Senators Joe Lieberman, Patty Murray and Pat Roberts received such letters, according to the report.

Gainer also confirmed that all the threatening mails received thus far have been postmarked from Portland, Oregon.

The U.S. capital area -- some landmarks such as the White House, the Capitol Hill and the Pentagon in particular -- has long been the target of terrorist plots.

Earlier this month, a terror suspect was arrested near the Capitol as part of an anti-terrorism investigation. The suspect, 29-year old Amine El Khalifi, was nabbed by the FBI in a one-year sting. He was carrying what was believed to be explosives to carry out an attack on the Capitol.

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