Suspicious packages sent to Quebec politicians

The anti-terrorist squad of the Quebec provincial police is looking into approximately two dozen suspicious parcels sent to high-profile politicians in the province that contained harmless white powder.

The packages were sent to media organizations and government offices, including the riding office of Premier Jean Charest. Benoit Richard, the provincial police spokesman, said that 11 packages were delivered to addresses in Montreal, while 12 more were sent to other parts of the province, the Canadian Press reports.

The contents of the packages, which appeared similar to the biological weapon anthrax, did not appear to be threatening in any other way. The parcels were sent to Health Canada to undergo further testing. One package was identified as containing harmless baking soda.

The Montreal police said that none of the packages inspected were dangerous. Some of the buildings were evacuated after receiving the packages and nobody was injured in any of the incidents.

Some of the packages were sent by a group called the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Quebec, according to the Canadian Press.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacterium, which can cause infection naturally through infected animals or be used as a weapon. Anthrax was used in a 2001 United States attack when it was spread deliberately through the postal system causing five deaths and 17 additional infections.