Anthrax found in letter sent to Pakistani paper

War on Terrorism: Bioterrorism
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The Independent Online

The threat of anthrax terrorism was feared to have spread beyond the United States to Pakistan yesterday as a bizarre series of positive tests and false alarms swept the world.

The threat of anthrax terrorism was feared to have spread beyond the United States to Pakistan yesterday as a bizarre series of positive tests and false alarms swept the world.

Authorities in Pakistan said spores had been found in a press release sent to the country's largest newspaper, the Daily Jang, forcing hundreds of employees to leave their offices.

In India, officials in the western state of Maharashtra said powder sent to a senior bureaucrat had tested positive and would be examined further.

Meanwhile, there was widespread confusion over whether the bacteria had arrived for the first time in Europe. Officially confirmed reports of cases in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein and the eastern state of Thuringia were later described by federal officials as false alarms.

But the fear that bioterror was on the way to the Continent was heightened after news that the American embassy in Athens had received a letter containing bacteria that was being tested for anthrax.

Meanwhile, California increased security at bridges and other installationsafter Thursday night's warning by the Governor, Gray Davis, who said he had received "credible evidence" that four bridges, including San Francisco's Golden Gate, might be attacked by terrorists during the next week. The FBI sent warnings on Wednesday to eight western states saying terrorists might strike at suspension bridges. Federal officials played down the extent of the threat, saying Mr Davis had relayed uncorroborated information.

As America extended its bombing campaign in Afghanistan, sending waves of B-52s to carpet bomb the Taliban front lines, President George Bush vowed that Osama bin Laden and his followers would be defeated. "We are making progress overseas in Afghanistan. We are slowly but surely tightening the net on the enemy ... we're going to get him, and them," he said.

Mr Bush ruled out a bombing pause for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "The enemy won't rest in Ramadan, and neither will we," he said.

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