Federal ministries on lockdown after envelopes with white powder discovered
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    Federal ministries on lockdown after envelopes with white powder discovered

    The offices of several federal ministers were put on lockdown after envelopes containing white powder were discovered. © Belga/Archive image

    Envelopes containing unidentified white powder were addressed to the offices of several federal ministers in Brussels, a day after a similar incident targetted Walloon ministers in Namur.

    The envelopes were addressed to the offices of the prime minister as well as to those of the deputy prime ministers responsible for finance, budget and for the middle classes, as well as to the ministers of agriculture and of foreign affairs.

    At around 9:00 AM on Friday, the offices of francophone ministers of the Brussels-Wallonia Federation in Madou were put on lockdown after internal mailing services reported the arrival of envelopes containing white powder.

    The envelopes were also later reported in the offices of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès in Rue de la Loi and as well as in the Finance Tower in the Northern Quarter, which houses the offices of Health Minister Maggie De Block and of Finance and Budget Ministers Alexander De Croo and David Clarinval.

    The prime minister’s office was reportedly the only location which was not put on lockdown, with De Morgen reporting saying the envelope was not opened by staff.

    The incident, which also targetted the agriculture and foreign affairs ministries, comes after Walloon ministers were addressed envelopes also containing white powder on Thursday.

    An anthrax procedure was launched in Wallonia following the reception of the envelopes at the Elysette palace, with officials later confirming the substances contained in the envelopes were not dangerous.

    Screening operations are currently ongoing in Brussels, with civil protection and emergency services deployed on-site.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times

    Update: Shortly before noon, the confinement measures were lifted at the Finance Tour, officials from the budget cabinet confirmed.