Incendiary packages target state government buildings in US

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 07, 2011 11:30 hrs

Washington, Jan 7 (DPA) An upset citizen appears to have been behind one of the incendiary packages that ignited in two different government buildings in the US state of Maryland Thursday, the New York Times reported Friday.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, to whom that particular package was addressed, told reporters that it contained a complaint about highway signs that ask motorists to report suspicious activity.

When mailroom employees opened the packages, 'there was an initial flash of fire and smoke and a smell that emanated from the reaction', Gregory Shipley, a spokesman for the Maryland state police, said in broadcast remarks.

Two mailroom workers said their fingers had been 'singed' but refused treatment, Shipley said.

Authorities stressed that the packages, which were about the size of a book, did not contain explosives.

'This is not to be confused with a significant explosion that we think of when you say that word,' Shipley was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

Shipley made his remarks standing outside one of the two buildings targeted, the Jeffrey Building in the state capital of Annapolis, located about 50 km outside of the US capital Washington DC on the Chesapeake Bay.

He said the mailroom had been quarantined and the building was evacuated for several hours after the 12.30 p.m. (1730 GMT) incident, but workers had returned to work.

The second device went off shortly after 12.30 p.m. in the headquarters of the Maryland Department of Transportation, in Hanover, not far from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, about 30 km from Washington.

The investigation was being coordinated between the Maryland state police and the federal joint task force on terrorism.