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US Consulate in Milan evacuated after bomb threat

Tuesday - 8/6/2013, 4:21pm  ET

An American flag flies outside the U.S. Consulate in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Anti-terrorism police in Milan say the city's U.S. Consulate has been evacuated after receiving a letter containing a bomb threat. An officer said the letter carried a symbol frequently used by Italian anarchists in the past. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

FRANCES D'EMILIO

ROME (AP) -- A building housing the U.S. Consulate in Milan and other offices was temporarily evacuated Tuesday evening after the diplomatic mission received a letter containing a bomb threat, police said.

An officer in Italy's anti-terrorism squad said the letter carried a symbol frequently used in the past by Italian anarchists.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the bomb threat and the temporary closure of the consulate. She also thanked Italian authorities for their "prompted and professional response."

The officer said police inspected the building after staff members were evacuated and that no members of the public appeared to be there at the time. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with police regulations.

Later, the building's tenants were allowed back inside after the alarm was called off. Several Italian radio stations have offices in the same building and also were temporarily evacuated.

As a precaution, a nearby subway stop was temporarily closed during rush hour as a precaution but later was reopened.

Police denied Italian news reports that suspicious luggage also had been found at the consulate.

Psaki said she was not aware of any connection between the bomb threat in Milan and the al-Qaida threats that prompted the temporary closure of U.S. embassies across the Mideast and Africa, and the evacuation of U.S. personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said the U.S. warnings prompted Italy to reduce operations at some of its diplomatic missions.

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AP photographer Antonio Calanni in Milan and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.


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