Seven suspicious envelopes from India sent to Greek university rectors so far
Greek law enforcement agencies and universities were on high alert on Thursday after finding that a total of seven identical packages with suspicious contents have been posted to Greek universities from India. The first was discovered at the University of the Aegean in Mytilene, Lesvos on Wednesday, while a second turned up on Thursday morning at the central post office on the island of Corfu. Following the publicity concerning the Mytilene package, another five packages were reported by higher education institutes in Athens (two), Western Attica, Chania and Volos.
The envelope in Corfu was removed from the island’s central post office by a fire brigade officer wearing a special hazmat suit. Greek authorities have activated the Plan for Managing Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear Threats, following the relevant protocol, and the central Corfu post office will stay shut on Friday to undergo decontamination.
All seven envelopes were sent from India and addressed to the rectors of Greek universities. The rector in Chania had opened the envelope sent to him and tossed it out but informed authorities on Thursday, upon hearing about the package sent to Mytilene.
Similarly, the rector of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) had also opened the envelope and then thrown it into the rubbish after finding only some flyers inside and no powder. This was confirmed by a special team that picked up the envelope at the NTUA on Thursday. The envelope sent to the second Athens university is being checked, while inspections of those in Volos and Corfu are pending.
Four people that have already come into contact with the unopened suspicious envelope in Corfu have been transferred to the island’s General Hospital as a precaution, to a special unit for medical examination. All the envelopes that are picked up by the fire brigade will be sent to the General Chemical State Laboratory for testing, to determine what they contain.
Analysis of the powder inside the envelope from Mytilene, transferred to Athens on a C-130 plane, has not yet revealed anything dangerous but is still ongoing. The powder caused mouth and nasal irritation to all those coming into contact with it.
Civil Protection, fire brigade, police and other services are currently holding a meeting to organise the state response, while universities and post offices have been informed to alert the authorities if more such packages are found.