Israeli Consulate in Boston shut down after anthrax hoax letter

The Israeli Consulate in Boston was shut down on Monday for several hours after envelopes were found in the building with the word "anthrax" written on them.

Police and fire crews locked down the building and the surrounding area on Columbus Avenue. The two envelopes, addressed to the consulate and sent from a presumably false name, were found to have a residue on the outside and a powder on the inside. Further investigation determined that the letters, mailed from New York, did not pose an immediate threat, My Fox Boston reports.

Consulate officials said that there were no special meetings or events planned on Monday. There are approximately 20 employees who work in the building. Federal and local officials will continue to investigate the incident.

The agency said that despite the intimidation, it has confidence in the training of the city's emergency personnel to handle such incidents, according to My Fox Boston.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Humans can become infected with skin, lung and digestive anthrax via animals by handling, breathing in or eating infected animals or animal products. Anthrax can also be used as a weapon, which occurred in the 2001 anthrax attacks that infected 22 people and killed five.