U.S., Canadian Consulates in Istanbul Sent Mystery Yellow Powder

Chemical and biological experts arrive at the German Consulate in Istanbul. OZAN KOSE / AFP - Getty Images

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Envelopes containing unidentified yellow powder were sent to the United States and Canadian consulates in Istanbul on Friday, as well as several other diplomatic offices, officials said. The German and Belgian consulates in the Turkish city also received the suspicious packages and several people from the Canadian and Belgian missions were hospitalized. "The person has been decontaminated as a precaution and there is no reason to believe that the were chemical or biological agents in the powder," AFAD Spokesman Doğan Eşkinat told NBC News, referring to a Canadian staff member taken to hospital. Joren Vandeweyer, spokesman with the Belgian Foreign Office, said two members of Belgian staff were hospitalized but were showing no symptoms.

The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions after a soldier was shot dead in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, by a gunman who also fired shots in the city's Parliament buildings. A senior source at the AFAD told NBC News the U.S. consulate in Istanbul also received a letter containing yellow powder. A U.S. Embassy spokesman confirmed this to Reuters but State Department officials were not immediately available for comment when contacted by NBC News. It was not clear if the U.S. consulate had been evacuated. The senior AFAD source said it had taken a sample from the U.S. consulate and one of its vehicles was outside the building. A spokesperson at the Canadian foreign office said: "All staff at the Canadian mission are safe and accounted for," but would not provide details of the incident.


- Alexander Smith

Reuters contributed to this report.